Memorial this Saturday for James L. Knittel, 1941-2019

Family and friends will gather Saturday to remember James L. Knittel. Here’s the remembrance being shared with the community:

To the glory of God and Celebration of Life – James Lee Knittel

James Lee Knittel was born on May 10, 1941, to Erhardt and Hulda Knittel in Newton, Kansas. He was baptized as an infant at Zion Evangelical Church. When Jim was 2 years old, his parents and older brother, Rene, moved to Tacoma, where his father accepted a call to teach at Concordia Lutheran School. Jim attended Concordia Lutheran grade school through the 8th grade. He spent 3 years at Stadium High School and his senior year at Wilson High School and was a part of the first graduating class at the new school.

Jim always knew that he would follow his Dad into the teaching ministry. He attended Concordia College in Portland, Oregon for 2 years and then 2 years at Seward, Nebraska Teachers College. Spending several summers back at Seward, he earned his Master’s Degree in Education. Jim received his call from Hope Lutheran Church and School in Seattle, and was installed in September 1963 as a teacher and athletic director.

On June 15th, 1974, Jim married the love of his life, Jeralee Henke, at Hope Lutheran Church. They were married 3 days short of 45 years. The great joys of his life were his children, Timothy, Elizabeth, David, and grandson James. Rarely missing a game, play or concert, he enjoyed all their activities. Jim spent many years playing baseball, several years with Hope’s team and several with city leagues. He pitched 3 no-hitters, which is a very hard feat to accomplish in modified fastpitch softball. Golf was another sport he enjoyed playing with his dad, brother, uncle, and later with Tim and David. Jim loved music and would help Elizabeth practice her voice lessons, plunking notes out on the piano while she sang. He went to almost every soccer and basketball game to watch grandson James play, still calling out to him “Follow through” on his free throws.

For many years, life revolved around school, church, sports, and music. Jim enjoyed his teaching in the classroom, especially math. In 1971 he was called to be Principal (20 years) but continued to teach several math classes so he could stay active in the classroom. He wore many hats including choir director, athletic director, and basketball coach. Jim taught at Hope for 38 years; he and Jeralee were also Charter members of Seattle Lutheran High School, helping get the high school off the ground. After retiring from Hope, Jim continued to teach math at Seattle Lutheran for a number of years. He spent several years on the board of Directors of the Northwest District Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

Above all Jim was a man of firm faith and trust in God and professed Jesus as Lord and Savior. He loved his family and would do anything for them. He passed away from complications of kidney failure on June 12th, 2019 at home, surrounded by his loving family.

Jim is survived by his wife Jeralee, his three children Timothy, Elizabeth, and David, and grandson James.

Sister Barbara Gapol (Joe) and Brother Rene Knittel (Vi)

Safe in the Arms of Jesus

A Memorial service of Thanksgiving & Remembrance will be held Saturday, June 29th, at 1:00 pm at Hope Lutheran Church, 4456 42nd Ave SW. Memorials may be sent to Hope Lutheran Church for Hope Lutheran School’s athletic or music program.

Please share condolences with the Knittel Family and share memories of Jim on the tribute page.

Care & Arrangements Entrusted to Emmick Family Funeral Home – West Seattle

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to

3 Replies to "Memorial this Saturday for James L. Knittel, 1941-2019"

  • Brendan J. June 27, 2019 (4:39 pm)

    Such a great person and will be missed and remembered fondly by generations of students from Hope and more!

  • Amie Edmondson June 28, 2019 (10:30 pm)

    Love to you all!!! What a great man. Big hugs

  • Liz June 28, 2019 (11:08 pm)

    Thank you both!! My dad truly was the best and I miss him dearly!! ❤️

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