Charles A. Knott, 83 contractor and developer

October 12, 1993|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,Staff Writer

Charles A. Knott, a semiretired contractor and developer who was active in civic affairs, died Friday of internal bleeding at St. Joseph Hospital. The Guilford resident was 83.

In the 1940s, he took over Henry A. Knott Inc., the general contracting firm founded by his father in 1908, and was president and chairman of the board.

Some of the buildings that the firm built included structures at Mercy Medical Center, Union Memorial Hospital and the Notre Dame-Loyola College Library. The firm closed in 1975.

At his death, he was president of Knott Industries, a real estate development firm that he founded as Garden Construction Co. in 1950. The firm changed its name in 1978.

He was the owner of a 600-acre parcel of land in the 1950s in Woodlawn that he successfully developed into the Meadows Industrial Park, one of the nation's first industrial parks. A 200-acre parcel became home to the federal Social Security Administration, which opened its first building there in 1960.

"His interest was the public sector and he worked like hell at it," said his brother, Henry J. Knott.

"He was a real gentleman. A dedicated person. A man with great moral integrity," recalled the Rev. Daniel J. McGuire, a special assistant to the president of Loyola College and a friend for half a century. "He had great empathy for people who had problems and he was completely committed to helping them. It gave him great pleasure to help others."

"A week or so ago, he said to me, 'You know Paul, I was born with a nail in my mouth,' " said Paul O'Malley, the retired owner of P. T. O'Malley Lumber Co. who knew Mr. Knott for 50 years. "He was very interested in the retarded and built a whole wing at the Benedictine School. No one will ever know how much money and time that this man has given away."

Mr. Knott's interest in the Benedictine School for Exceptional Children in Ridgely resulted from the son of a close friend being a student there. He served as president and board member of the school and was still active there at the time of his death.

Another interest was scouting, with which he became involved in 1947. He had been chairman of the Southeast Region National Catholic Committee on Scouting and was active with the Baltimore Area Executive Board of Scouting. He was awarded the Silver Beaver and other medals for outstanding service to scouting.

He also served as a director of the Maryland National Bank, Union Federal Savings and Loan Association, Baltimore Ice Sports and Keyser Glass Co. He was also director emeritus of the Maryland Institute, Calvert Hall College and the Benedictine School.

He was a founder and past president of Associated Builders and Contractors and founder of the National Association of Industrial Parks and was a past president of the Building Congress and Exchange, a trade organization for builders and contractors.

In 1971, he was appointed to a two-year term on the Baltimore County Advisory Board on Public Buildings.

A native of Ten Hills, he was reared there and was a 1929 graduate of Calvert Hall College. He earned a bachelor's degree in architectural design from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1935.

He was a member of the American College of Real Estate Consultants, the Maryland Historical Society and the executive committee of the National Conference of Christians and Jews. He was active in the Hibernian Society and was a member of the Baltimore Country Club.

A Mass of Christian burial was to be offered at 11 a.m. today at the Roman Catholic Shrine of the Sacred Heart, 5800 Smith Ave. in Baltimore's Mount Washington.

In addition to his brother, he is survived by his wife, the former Catherine Williams of Mount Washington, whom he married in 1940; three sons, Charles A. Knott of West Chester, Pa., and William H. Knott and Henry A. "Chip" Knott II, both of Baltimore; a daughter, Mary Catherine Digges of Williamsburg, Va.; three brothers, John L. Knott, Joseph M. Knott and the Rev. Francis X. Knott, S.J., all of Baltimore; and 15 grandchildren.

The family suggested memorial contributions to the Benedictine School for Exceptional Children, 14299 Benedictine Lane, Ridgely, Md. 21660.

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