Knodes promote Williamsport by being active

June 29, 2005|By Janey Heim

Editor's note - There are a lot of people you see around town that you recognize, but don't know anything about. People like...

Joan and Jerry Knode

Age: Joan, 62; Jerry, 68.

Occupation: Joan, Retired Citicorp Learning Resource Center administrator; Jerry, Retired shift supervisor from Allegheny Energy.

Hometown: Williamsport.

Where would you see the Knodes?: As part of the committee that helped get the Town Museum of Williamsport up and running again, the Knodes are busily preparing for the town's Fourth of July celebration.

The museum committee has organized the celebration's kickoff, a service of remembrance at Riverview Cemetery at 11 a.m. for the town's founder and Revolutionary War hero, Gen. Otho Holland Williams. Later in the day, there will be a concert by the Williamsport Town Band at Byron Memorial Park, followed by a fireworks display at 9:15 p.m.


"Williamsport would make Norman Rockwell proud," said Joan Knode, expressing the hometown loyalty the couple shares.

Both are Williamsport High School graduates - Jerry, Class of 1954, and Joan, Class of 1961. The couple, who live on Maplehurst Road, will celebrate their 41st wedding anniversary July 3.

Jerry is often called upon to lead tours of the town museum, such as the program he did recently for a Boy Scout troop from New Jersey.

Housed in the Springfield Farm Barn off U.S. 11, the museum is open every Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. and features displays, events and stories of the town's history.

The Knodes serve in a variety of ways in their community, but prefer being behind-the-scenes. The couple helped organize and coordinate the annual Harvest Hoedown, in its 13th year.

Now sponsored by the Williamsport Ministerium, it is the primary fundraiser for the local food bank. Jerry runs the yard sale, Joan helps with promotions and their daughter-in-law, Tearza Knode, organizes the silent auction.

"As long as it helps somebody," Jerry said, a sentiment that drives the Knodes' volunteer work.

They are members of the Small Museums and Historical Sites of Washington County and active in Williamsport United Methodist Church. Over the years, they have been involved with Boy Scout Troop 17, where their son, JL, earned the rank of Eagle Scout.

Jerry has been involved with Conococheague Little League, 4-H Rifle Club and the Williamsport Ambulance and Fire Company.

Joan is a member of My Lady Red Hats, a Williamsport chapter of the Red Hat Society.

Hobbies: Jerry loves hunting, leatherworking and visiting the Williamsport Hunt Club cabin in the woods near Rocky Gap. His love for local history and folklore has him worried that the younger generations don't care about the past.

"My granddaddy always said 'If you don't know where you come from, you don't know where you're going,'" Jerry said.

Joan's hobbies are creative - basketmaking, decorative painting, gardening and her newest skill, chair caning. She also likes working on the computer.

The couple enjoys spending time with their family - their three grown sons, JL, Jeremy and John; seven grandchildren and one great-granddaughter - and going to auctions with John.

What do the Knodes like best about Washington County?: The Knodes consider Washington County to be "mini Maryland." From the art and musical events, 30 local town museums, lakes, parks with beaches, the Potomac River, mountains and small towns, they have little need to venture far from home.

Jerry doesn't like to be too far from the Potomac River and said the water doesn't taste the same when they travel.

If you know anyone in the community who might make an interesting Our Town feature, contact Janet Heim at 301-733-5131, ext. 2024 or e-mail

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