Raymond Wallace Knapp, beloved only child of teacher/first-day cover artist Dorothy Apt Knapp and teacher/ornithologist Maxwell Knapp, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Monday, August 10th, 2020. He was born in Rhinebeck, New York in November of 1935.
Wally’s love of nature and rock collecting inspired him to study geology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. Upon graduation he was recruited by Shell Oil, completing their training in locations throughout the American West. During the heyday of the oil boom Wally moved to Houston to work as a petroleum geologist for Amoco and met his wife Mary. They settled in West University Place where they raised two daughters.
A long-time member of the Houston Gem and Mineral Society and supporter of the acquisition of The Perkins and Ann Sams Mineral Collection at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Wally also acquired and maintained an impressive personal collection, which he happily shared with others. A lover of poetry, he wrote and published two collections of poems. Wally was a loving and generous father who enjoyed travels with his family throughout the United States and abroad. Despite a disabling early loss of hearing, he retained his love of people, an indefatigable spirit, and a wonderful sense of humor.
Wally is survived by his wife, Mary Knapp, daughters Anne-Marie Knapp Hoyle (Jonathan) and Lillie Knapp Hebert (Todd) and three grandchildren: Isaac Hoyle, who inherited his gregarious nature; Oliver Hebert, who inherited his love of collecting; and Dottie Hebert, who inherited his “punny” sense of humor. He also leaves behind many dear relations and lifelong friends. The family is grateful to Wally’s long-time caregiver Bobbie Rochelle.
“The memory turns back –
Of romps through morning meadow’s dew;
A seed of spirit that would always be.
So naturally I thought of you,
Who held my hand – and taught me to be free.”
Wally Knapp, The Seedlings Gather Gold