Michael J. Knope
1960 - 1996
DOD = 02 10 1996
A Watertown firefighter/paramedic was killed Saturday night in a snowmobile accident in Langlade County.
Michael J. Knope, 35, of 417 Dewey Ave., died from injuries suffered in the accident, which occurred on a trail near Sawyer Lake Road, approximately four miles north of Langlade, just before 10:26 p.m., according to the Langlade County Sheriff's Department. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Knope, a member of the Watertown Fire Department for 11 years, was instrumental in the development of the paramedic program in the city, according to Fire Chief Richard Olson.
"He was pretty much responsible, almost single-handedly, for the creation and implementation of the paramedic plan for the city of Watertown," Olson said.
Knope, who was promoted to lieutenant in March of 1995, was coordinator for the emergency medical program for many years. As coordinator, Olson said Knope was responsible for ensuring that training for full time and auxiliary members was up-to-date.
Members of the fire department have received counseling to help them handle Knope's death, Olson said. Lt. Dave Weber, a member of the department's critical incident debriefing team, was talking to fire department employees as early as Sunday morning.
Olson said the counseling will be ongoing as members attempt to handle the loss of their colleague. "He was a very talented individual," Olson said. "From my perspective as fire chief, Mike Knope can't be replaced. We'll hire someone, but it won't be Mike Knope's replacement.
Funeral services for Knope will be held Tuesday at 2 p.m. at St. Mark's Lutheran Church with the Rev. Donald Sutton officiating. Burial will be in the Lutheran cemetery.
He was born on Nov. 23, 1960 in Burlington, the son of Jerry and Janet (Volant) Knope. On Feb 17, 1990, he married Laurette Kirst at St. Mark's Lutheran Church.
He was a graduate of St. John's grade school and a 1979 graduate of Watertown High School. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
In addition to his duties with the fire department, he was a member of Firefighters Union 887, where he was a former president and a current vice president.
He was a member of St. Mark's Lutheran Church, Ducks Unlimited, Chickens Unlimited and White Tails. He was an avid hunter and fisherman.
Survivors include his wife; one son, Jacob, at home; his parents of Watertown; his paternal grandmother, Bessie Knope of North Port, Fla.; one sister, Meredith; one brother, Jonathan (Marie) of Watertown; aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents, Eugene and Esther Volant; and his paternal grandfather, August Knope.
History of Watertown, Wisconsin