Born on June 25, 1943 in Iroquois County, Illinois, he was the son of Robert William Knake and Marie Emily Hopmann Knake. He served with the U.S. Army Reserves from 1964-1968. As a young entrepreneur, he established his first business while a senior in high school working on cars and repairing heavy equipment, then moved on to his dream of becoming a land developer. Through his life he was able to fulfill his dream of owning and developing numerous residential/commercial subdivisions in Illinois and North Carolina. In the early 70's he developed a 28,000 acre ranch in Indiana, built a championship 18 hole 7498 yard golf course in Illinois where the Open Championship was played, and oversaw the construction of the Bon Vivant Country Club, helipad and landing strip. In 1977, he moved to NC where he developed Smyrna Farms and converted 6,000 acres of raw timberland into farm land. Upon completion of Smyrna Farms he was hired as Director of Rabies/Mosquito Control and Drainage Consultant for Carteret County, and opened his Real Estate Company while continuing to develop subdivisions and commercial property.
While on their honeymoon in 1983, Richard fell in love with Hawai'i. Working towards his dream of land development and construction in Hawai'i, he sold his real estate and liquidated his holdings in NC and moved to Hawai'i in 1992 and became the first contractor in Hawai'i to build a sustainable energy efficient, eco-friendly green home. During his years of construction in Hawai'i, he was a mentor to a number of budding contractors. From 2004-2017 Richard was President of Pat's at Punalu'u AOAO. During his term as President, he was able to take Pat's at Punalu'u Association from a near bankrupt, leasehold property on the verge of condemnation, and transform it into a beautiful, renovated, fee simple condominium complex.
He enjoyed boating on his beautiful "Kai Nani" at Kaneohe Bay and cruising to the outer islands with family and friends. When he was not on his boat, he loved to read, travel and work on his many projects.
The loss of Richard will profoundly impact those who survive him. When you were in his company, you were enriched in some way. An intense listener, a gentle soul, a man of honor and integrity, he was authentic and genuine, and cared deeply about people. There was nothing "put on" about Richard. He loved Hawai'i, the people and the beauty of the islands, as evident by the twinkle in his eyes whenever he spoke of his Hawai'i Nei.
Preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Marie Knake. He is survived by his loving wife of 38 years, Elizabeth (Betty) Dees-Knake, two sons; David H. Dees (Allison), James D. Knake, grandchildren; Tyler and Jill Dees, Sean Knake, Elizabeth Padgett (Anthony), Kevin Parker. Brother; Raymond (Sharon) Knake, Sisters; Edith (Dean) Rodenbeck and Marilyn (Robert) Whipkey. Numerous cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Life will be held at Our Savior Lutheran Church 98-1098 Moanalua Road Aiea, HI. on Saturday, March 5, 2022. Visitation 10:30. Service 11:30am. Private scattering of ashes. Richard will be missed, but his legacy of kindness and love will live on through us. Richard left this world a better place by having been here.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in memory of Richard Knake to Wounded Warriors PO BOX 758517, Topeka, KS. 66675-8517.
Arrangements Provided By: Hawaiian Memorial Park Mortuary