Timothy Albert Kniss, who some called Tim, laid down his earthly burdens and joined his Heavenly Father on May 1, 2020. Tim was preceded in death by his parents, William Kniss Sr. and Georgette VanDenBerghe; his brother Daniel, and his grandaughter Agnes Maria Schwager. He is survived by his wife Donna (Rolph) Kniss, daughters Judith (Jeremy) Schwager and Sarah Kniss; grandchildren Stephen Schwager and Phoebe Schwager; and siblings William (Denise) Kniss Jr., Paul Kniss, Alice (Mike) Black, and Benjamin (Michelle) Kniss.
Tim wanted to be an astronaut and worked hard to receive an appointment to the US Air Force Academy. He was discharged after he became gravely ill with what was later identified as systemic lupus erythematosus. He went on to get a degree in Engineering Physics at the University of Toledo and worked as an instrumentation engineer, mainly in the nuclear power industry.
Tim lived with the pains of SLE by ignoring it. When lupus nephritis damaged his kidneys and he was losing kidney function he continued working even as he made plans to start dialysis. His sister Alice generously offered to donate a living kidney to Tim in 2012, enabling him to continue life without dialysis. His nephrologist told him that Tim would decide when the buildup of toxins from the loss of kidney function made him so uncomfortable that he would need to have the transplant. Tim told his wife he was delaying the transplant as long as possible so Alice would not have her surgery until it was absolutely necessary. He held out so long his doctor had to tell him to have the transplant done when his kidney function fell to around 9%. The transplant was done on a Tuesday, and Tim was doing so well he was discharged on Easter Saturday and then decided to attend the Easter Vigil mass that night. These are examples of how Tim lived, carrying on despite his pains and difficulties, always thinking of others, and living a Christian life.
Tim loved astronomy and the heavens. You could ask him about anything in the night sky and he would know which planet, star or constellation you were asking about. He had an eight inch telescope mirror, built a telescope mount for it, and then worked on rebuilding it to improve it. The last few years he started devoting more time to learning about astrophotography. He, his wife, and his daughter Sarah watched the 2017 total solar eclipse in the Sawtooth Mountains overlooking a valley, and they were planning future trips to solar eclipse sites and dark sky parks.
Tim was a devoted husband and father. He always made time to be with his daughters as they were growing up, modeling how to be a good person. He was a devoted Catholic, raising both children in the Church and singing with them in the St. Eugene choir. Tim had a sense of humor so dry that sometimes you weren’t sure if he was joking, and enjoyed puns and jokes, especially scientific and engineering jokes. He introduced his daughters to the joys of science fiction, Monty Python and the Marx Brothers. He loved taking care of, playing with and reading to his grandchildren.
The family would like to thank Dr. Christopher Boshkos and the other physicians at Northeast Ohio Nephrology Associates for the excellent care they provided over the last 20+ years, and Dr. Eric Turney and the vascular surgery team at Summa for saving Tim’s life and legs last October. We would also like to thank the Cuyahoga Falls Emergency Response teams; the dedicated staff at Summa City Hospital, especially the doctors and nurses in the T2 ICU; Summa Rehab; Cleveland Clinic Edwin Shaw Rehab Hospital; and Select Specialty Hospital, whose staff provided care with extraordinary sensitivity for both Tim and his family as he neared the end of his life in this difficult time.
A private viewing was held for his family, and he has been interred at Glendale Cemetery. A memorial Mass and celebration of life calling hours will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to: Summit County Astronomy Club, 2850-A West Market Street, Fairlawn, Ohio 44333.
Because he was so quiet and modest, we are asking Tim’s friends and co-workers to leave stories about Tim on the tribute wall; stories that he may never had told us because he never made a big deal about anything. Tim was our quiet hero, living a good life serving others despite his pains and physical burdens, and while we will miss him here every day, we know he is playing with baby Agnes in heaven.
(McGowan-Reid & Santos Chapel, Cuyahoga Falls)
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