Obit Helen Joan Knowles

Helen Knowles

Helen Joan Johnson Knowles, born June 25, 1927, in Walla Walla, Washington passed away January 14, 2020 in the presence of her family.

Joan spent her early years in Walla Walla and then moved to Seattle where she graduated from Queen Anne High School in 1943.She moved back to Walla Walla and continued her education at Whitman College but was interrupted by the war and moved back to Seattle. She met Richard (Dick) Knowles and married in 1948. Their first home was in La Grande, Oregon. Then came the Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe, a tropical paradise, that left many memories. They finally settled in Orofino, Idaho.

Joan continued her education and graduated in Business Administration.

After retirement in 1986 she and Dick became full time RV travelers, making it to all 50 states, Canada and Mexico. They were married for 67 years until his passing in 2015.

Joan was a proud descendant of pioneers that walked the Oregon Trail in 1845 and settled in Prescott, Washington. She loved the family history and traced her roots to the Revolutionary War and old England.

An active public servant she was always involved in local politics, a long-time member of PEO, League of Women Voters, AAUW, and Delta Gamma sorority. She participated in church activities and was always ready to prepare a potluck dish or to help those in need. Libraries were her passion and she helped get a new library built in Milton-Freewater, Oregon. She was an avid bridge player and the Walla Walla Bridge Community will miss her greatly.

She is survived by: daughters, Carolyn Madson and Mary Jo Knowles, son John Knowles, grandchildren: Kendra Zigler, Autumn Lear, Gwynne Ohm, Elise Lear, Matthew Knowles, Kerric Knowles, and five great-grandchildren.

Celebration of Joan’s life will be June 27 in Walla Walla. For more information, photos and comments please see: “Helen Joan Knowles Memorial site at “ on Facebook.

In lieu of flowers please send donations to: PEO Foundation Scholarship Fund c/o Gretchen Brown, 841 Winesap Road, Milton Freewater, OR, 97862, or Tamástslikt Cultural Institute,

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