Thursday, May 13, 2021

Donald Lee Knauss, 80

| May 4, 2021 7:00 AM

Donald Lee Knauss, 80, passed away April 30, 2021, at his home in Libby. Don was born July 2, 1940, in Whitefish to Earl Lee and Clara Jane (Bigger) Knauss.

Don was the second of two children. He grew up and attended schools in Whitefish, graduating from Whitefish High School with the class of 1959.


(Courtesy photo)

He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and served on active duty as an airman 1st Class from 1960 to 1964 and with the reserves from 1964 to 1966. Don’s skills were in radio and radar maintenance, and electronic security systems. He was stationed in China and Formosa before returning to the U.S. to work with Minuteman missiles during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He was proud to have served his country and treasured freedom.

Don’s working career included the Great Northern Railroad in Whitefish; Columbia Falls Mill; C&C Plywood in Kalispell; Anaconda Aluminum Plant; and Glacier Park Service.

He moved to Libby and worked 28 years for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the Libby Dam as a powerhouse electrician, the last five of those as a foreman of the electrical crew. Don enjoyed his co-workers and the challenges at Libby Dam. He just loved his work! Don also owned and operated Knauss Electric for 30 years as a master electrician.

Don had a real heart for God, his country, family and friends. He was an optimist and always grateful to live and work in Montana.

Don will always be remembered for being a hardworking man who never complained about anything in his life, including health or hardships. He just persevered through it.

He cherished and dearly loved his wife, Janet, and all his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

He had a genuine appreciation of the great-outdoors, nature, mountains, rivers, animals and all that goes with it. Hiking, hunting and fishing were passions. He was an avid reader and loved military history. Fly tying was a favorite hobby.

Preceding him in death were Don’s parents; brother, Richard “Dick” Earl Knauss; and great-granddaughter, Taylor Overton.

Survivors include his wife, Janet Knauss, of 42 years; his six children, Robert “Bobby” (Caryn) Knauss, Cathy (Sven) Bergmann, Ronald “Ronnie” Knauss, Kelly (Andy) Bennett, Krystal Mires and Bonnie (Brad) Koch; 14 grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

Viewing will take place from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., May 6 at Schnackenberg Funeral Home in Libby, with a graveside military honors memorial service at 1 p.m., May 7th, 2021 at the City of Libby Cemetery. Online condolences and memories may be shared by visiting

Memorials can be made to Diamond Blackfan Anemia Foundation ( as this cause relates to a grandchild.