You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

Carl W. Knobloch Jr., 86: ‘Can-do’ businesman, caring steward, giver


Carl W. Knobloch Jr. had a wide variety of interests and three lifelong passions: business, the great outdoors and family.

He found success and joy in those pursuits, but also had a strong commitment to giving back to the community, especially in protecting wildlife and the environment.

“He deeply believed the money he had was given to him by God, and he was the short-term steward of it,” daughter Carla Knobloch said.

Carl W. Knobloch Jr., driven businessman, philanthropist, adventurer and family man, 86, of Atlanta and Wilson, Wyo., died peacefully Nov. 22 at home, surrounded by his family.

Knobloch, the son of Lily Louise Smith and Carl William Knobloch Sr., learned the value of hard work and developed a love of the great outdoors growing up on a farm in Stamford, Conn.

He was a graduate of Yale College and Harvard Business School. As captain and an All-American on Yale’s fencing team, Knobloch learned “extreme focus, control and precision,” skills he considered critical to athletics and a productive life, according to his family.

He loved adventure and was guided by an entrepreneurial spirit to start or revive a number of businesses – including opening the first drive-in movie theater in Central Africa.

“He was very much a focused person,” daughter Eleanor Ratchford said. “If he decided he was going to do something, you could pretty much guarantee it was going to get done.”

In the late 1950s, he married Emily Champion and the two moved to New York, where he was an investment banker with Lehman Brothers and then Kidder Peabody.

Several business ventures followed.

In 1961, he and some friends invested in a bankrupt Florida company that built small homes in the rural rural South. He later took charge of companies in finance, real estate and oil field services and production, including US Finance, GAMI and Production Operators. He also was chairman of Rhodes Furniture and Automated Logic, a software and hardware control system company in Kennesaw.

Daughter Carla Knobloch saw firsthand her father’s “can-do, keep-after-it and it-will-work attitude” when she went to work for him at Texas-based Production Operators. Employees in the oil fields had to meet a 97 percent run rate and delivered 99.7 percent-plus. Knobloch rewarded their success and can-do spirit by giving them all equity in the business.

“There was a real culture of excellence that started with Dad at the top,” Carla said, noting that when her father sold the business in the late 1990s many of those employees, some with only high school diplomas, were set for life.

Knobloch’s love of the outdoors was born on the farm, fostered by hunting and fishing as a child in New England and deepened as an adult through his world travels and weekend gardening with his three daughters, Carla, Emily and Eleanor. He learned taxidermy and bird and butterfly preservation.

He channeled his desire to give back into several well-known organizations, serving as director and treasurer of the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics and working with the Shepherd Spinal Center, Georgia Girl Scouts Council and National Council of Better Business Bureaus.

“He liked giving back,” daughter Eleanor said. “He felt strongly about it, without making a big deal about it.”

He created the Knobloch Family Foundation, which is dedicated to preserving land and wild spaces for animals and protecting natural resources.

He drew inspiration for his foundation, his family said, from late President Teddy Roosevelt’s words: “The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets, which it must turn over to the next generation increased and not impaired in value.”

Knobloch helped his alma mater, Yale, to construct a “green” home for its School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He also endowed the university’s fencing program.

Knobloch “did not just want to think and talk about conservation, he wanted to conserve NOW,” said Indy Burke, the Carl W. Knobloch Jr. Dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

“His passion was unquenchable,” she said.

He also was a strong supporter of Davidson College in North Carolina, where two of his daughters went and where the campus center and indoor tennis center carry his family’s name.

“He attributed everything he did to God,” daughter Emily Knobloch said. “I’ve never known a man like him.”

Knobloch’s survivors include his wife of 59 years, Emily Champion Knobloch, siblings Sylvia Brown and Bill Knobloch, daughters Carla Knobloch, Emily Knobloch and Eleanor Knobloch Ratchford and two grandsons.

A memorial service and celebration of his life was held Monday at First Presbyterian Church in Atlanta. A private burial was held in Greenwich, Conn.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Q&A on the News

Q: I noticed a recent article quoting an FBI agent by the name of James Hosty. Is he related to the FBI agent James Hosty who investigated the JFK assassination? —Harold Mordt, Acworth A: Yes, Hosty is his grandson. James Hosty IV has been with the FBI as a special agent for 12 years, a spokesman in the FBI Atlanta Field Office told Q&A on the...
Mary Norwood burnishes her credentials at the DNC meeting in Atlanta

Back in 2009, Mary Norwood and Kasim Reed were locked in a tight runoff to become the next mayor of Atlanta. In the final ballot round, Norwood trailed Reed by a mere 700 votes. One of the reasons: The Georgia Democratic party had weighed in on Reed’s side, spending at least $165,000 attacking Norwood as a closet Republican. The Atlanta city...
2 bodies found in car in Atlanta
2 bodies found in car in Atlanta

The decomposed bodies of a man and a woman were found Saturday afternoon inside a car in the 3300 block of Fairburn Road, Channel 2 Action News reported. <div></div><br><blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Unidentified man and woman found dead and decomposing inside of...
Seen on video, suspect surrenders in Ga. shooting death
Seen on video, suspect surrenders in Ga. shooting death

A 20-year-old man surrendered to authorities Friday in Macon in connection with a shooting death the day before, Bibb County Sheriff David Davis said. De’Andre Malik Thomas, 20, allegedly was captured on surveillance video that showed the shooting of Kareem Mano, 25, the Macon Telegraph reported. The men argued about a cellphone Thomas allegedly...
Hit-and-run driver kills pedestrian in Gwinnett
Hit-and-run driver kills pedestrian in Gwinnett

A pedestrian died after being hit by a car Friday evening in the Norcross area, Gwinnett County police said. About 7:45 p.m., officers responded to Peachtree Corners Circle at Hunters Ridge, Sgt. R.E. Long said. The car had left the scene. “The pedestrian was killed by the impact with the vehicle,” Long said. The victim’s identity...
More Stories