Ralph John Knowles (John), beloved husband, father and friend, went home to be with the Lord at the age of 70 on Thursday, July 26, 2018. He passed away at Jackson Memorial Hospital due to pneumonia and liver complications.
John is survived by his wife of 49 years, Anne Rau Knowles; daughter, Pamela Knowles-Pickett (Sean); son, John Knowles (Mindy); and granddaughters, Aurora Knowles and Katherine Pickett.
He was a native of Miami and lived there most of his life. Ever enterprising, John began delivering newspapers at an early age. As a teenager, he worked at a dive shop. He always loved the sea, and spent much of his time on the water. He worked as a valet during high school and college, also working at the Safari Flying Club to earn experience for his commercial pilot’s license.
On January 10, 1969, he married Anne, also a native Miamian. They worked together in public accounting for a number of years, where he enjoyed employing his keen intellect to ensure that no detail was missed for his clients. He also purchased Sav-On Car Wash and co-owned Perrine Car Wash, which he managed with much success. When his father, Charles, became disabled in the early 1980s, John and Anne switched professions, helping his mother, Eileen, run Photo Offset Plate, Co., Inc., which at the time produced plates for printers. Under John’s direction, the prepress shop became Photo Offset, Inc., a printing and graphic design company. They retired to Waxhaw, North Carolina for 15 months in 2008, where they earned real estate licenses, but moved back to Miami and reclaimed the business after the economic downturn of that time. Pamela, Johnny and Mindy joined Photo Offset in the early 2000s, and it is still going strong.
John was involved in the community, believing strongly in the importance of supporting local institutions. He was active in the Boy Scouts of America for over 10 years, serving as cubmaster when his son wanted to become a scout and the pack had no leader, later moving up to assistant scoutmaster then scoutmaster. He loved teaching and inspiring children to learn new skills and take pride in their achievements. He served on the Tequesta District committee and chaired the Eagle Board. He was also a member of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, where he was a Board Member, Trustee Chairman, and Small Business Czar; Business Network International (BNI); Lifework Leadership; Riviera Country Club; Wayside Baptist Church; and co-founded C-Suite, a local business group.
John played the trombone and guitar; loved to fly; drove a motorcycle for years; fished and dove for lobster in the Florida Keys; enjoyed cooking and entertaining; excelled at debate, never shying away from a good political discussion; danced with style; and had a great bass voice, which he used to sing in the choir or to chime in with a relevant song at any given time (including many “Von Knowles family singers” happy birthdays).
He had a way of infusing everything he touched with fun. He put in extra time and effort to make any endeavor he undertook special. He was full of ideas and insights, and had a natural way of connecting with people, always quick with a joke and a smile. John was loved and respected by all who knew him and will be sorely missed.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, August 11, 2018 at 2 pm at the Wayside Baptist Church Chapel, located at 7701 S.W. 98th Street in Kendall, followed by refreshments in the fellowship hall.