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Ronald J. Kniess

June 30, 1935 ~ December 4, 2023 (age 88) 88 Years Old

Ronald Kniess Obituary

Ronald J. Kniess, 88, of Carmel, passed away December 4, 2023. He was born June 30, 1935, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, son of Mary (Sedley) and George P. Kniess Sr.

As a young boy during World War II, Ron remembers the Pittsburgh skies lit up with red flames from the mills producing steel for the war efforts. Later in 1946 he and his family joined his military father in Mannheim, Germany. While in Europe, he visited 13 countries, and in early 1948 returned to the States.

In 1949, while still a sophomore in high school, Ron joined his father in Tokyo and attended American schools. In 1952, at the age of 16, he graduated from Osaka American High School, when his father was transferred.

In the fall, he attended Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon). After two years he realized he didn’t want to be an engineer and enlisted in the army. He trained as an artillery fire direction specialist and was shipped out to Linz, Austria. A year later, he was transferred to Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany, into a 155 mm artillery battalion where he trained as a forward field surveyor. In 1956 Ron was honored as the battalion Soldier of the Year.

In 1957, near the end of his enlistment, he met his lovely, multi-linguist wife-to-be: Renee Lemke. For them to marry, it required a one-year extension in the military. Their first daughter Rita was born just before the end of this year, and then the family of three returned to the United States. Ron was discharged from the army at the rank of Staff Sergeant.

With the help of the G.I. Bill and a night job at a Pittsburgh bank, Ron was able to continue his studies, graduating from Duquesne University in 1962 with a B.S. degree in mathematics. Ron was also awarded a National Science Foundation grant for computer development at Carnegie Mellon. Prior to graduation, Renee and Ron had their second and third girls, Vivien, and Miriam. In 1963, their son Stephen was born, followed by their second son Stuart, in 1967.

Ron first entered business in a two-year management training program with US Steel Corporation. After 14 months, he was promoted to management. In 1968 Ron became the assistant plant comptroller for Reynolds Aluminum Company at their 3,000-employee plant in Chicago.

His next employment was with the Singer Corporation as a divisional controller in the furniture division, which had six plants throughout the southern states.

During his working career, Ron received a master’s degree in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, and later a master’s degree in business administration from Loyola University of Chicago.

In 1975 Ron was hired as the Vice President of Finance by a subsidiary of Liggett and Myers located in Indianapolis which produced carpet cleaning chemicals used in machinery produced by Blue Lustre and Rinse-N-Vac. In 1980 he participated in a leveraged buyout of the company and became the chairman of the board of the US company and president of the Canadian company. Their products were available for lease or purchase in over 80,000 stores in North America and England.  Ron retired in 1994 after the sale of the company.

He enjoyed golfing and was a member of the Woodland Country Club in Carmel, Indiana, and Audubon Country Club in Naples, Florida. He scored five holes in one: two in Naples and three at various Indiana Clubs.

Following retirement, Ron became an avid painter and attended art classes in the Indianapolis and Bonita Bay art leagues. He painted in all mediums for over 35 years and did some sculpting as well. In 2019 Ron published a novel (available on Amazon) titled: Hitler’s Last Secret. The motivation for the book was derived from his early youth in Europe after World War II. Ron had great respect for Native American culture. For several years he was a docent at the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis. Ron and Renee, who were married for 66 years, traveled extensively, visiting countries in most of Europe, South America, Mexico and all 50 United States.

In addition to his parents, Ron was preceded in death by his sister, Mary Jane Jones; brother, George P. Kniess, Jr.; and great-granddaughter Isabella Collier.

Survivors include his devoted wife, Renee Kniess; daughters, Rita Barkey (Patrick), Vivien Mohr (Michael), Miriam Gordon (Jerry); sons, Stephen Kniess (Darlene) and Stuart Kniess; nine grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

Ron was a devoted Catholic. Saint Joseph was his patron saint. His cremated ashes will be entombed in the chapel at Saint Agnes Church, Naples, Florida.

A Celebration of Life will be held Friday, April 19, 2024 in Woodland Country Club, 100 Woodland Lane, Carmel.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the American Heart Association or the Salvation Army.

Bussell Family Funerals is privileged to assist the family in arrangements.



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Celebration of Life
April 19, 2024

4:00 PM
Woodland Country Club
100 Woodland Lane
Carmel, IN 46032
Guaranteed delivery before the Celebration of Life begins


American Heart Association
6500 Technology Center Drive, Zionsville IN 46077

Salvation Army Indiana


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