Dalton Levern Knauss was born May 18th, 1928 on a farm in the small town of Imboden, Arkansas. He died peacefully with his children at his side on December 15th, 2021 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Between those 93 years, he saw much of the world and impacted it for the better. Family and his faith in Jesus were the most important things in his life.
He is survived by Elaine (née Nybakken), his beloved bride of 70 years. He is also survived by his children, William Knauss (Marilyn), Cynthia Knauss-Konija (Jim), grandchildren Tammy, Logan, Danielle (Louis), Desiree (Jeremy), Marissa (Adam) and Sara (John), along with 15 great-grandchildren as well as many other cherished family members and friends. He was preceded in death by all six of his siblings: Lucille (Roy), William Alonzo, Wyleese (Frank), Paul (Norma), Carl (Wanda), Vernon (Laura), and his grandson Dalton William.
As a small child, he and his family moved from Arkansas to Mount Vernon, Illinois in a covered wagon pulled by mules (true story). This small town in southern Illinois was his home for many years.
Dalton enlisted in the Navy at the age of 17 and proudly served from 1946-1949 aboard the USS Benner DD/DDR-807. He ended his military service as an Electrician’s Mate 2nd Class (EM2C). He loved attending his Navy ship reunion every year. After the Navy, he moved to Chicago to attend college. He graduated from DeForest Technical Institute in 1951 (now known as DeVry), where he studied to be an engineer. He worked hard throughout his career, helping to bring significant advancement to the semiconductor industry. He even held several patents.
Dalton moved his family from Chicago to Scottsdale to work for Motorola in 1958 (back then, Scottsdale was a small town with a population of fewer than 10,000). He co-founded Dickson Electronics in 1960, founded General Semiconductor in 1968, and took it public in 1973. General Semiconductor was later acquired by Square D, a Fortune 500 Company. In 1981, Dalton moved back to Illinois to work at Square D Company headquarters, eventually becoming president, chairman and CEO in 1983. During this time, he also served on the board of directors for the Kemper Corporation. His career took him to places he could never have imagined seeing as a young child. He visited 6 continents, dozens of countries and all of the United States.
Dalton’s retirement in 1989 brought him back to Scottsdale and eventually Payson, AZ, where he and Elaine lived for many years. Retirement left him time to indulge in some hobbies that included golfing, RVing, and travel. At age 70, he proudly had a hole-in-one on the 13th hole at Chaparral Pines in Payson, AZ. He also loved flying helicopters (which he learned to do at age 50). People were sometimes surprised at his sharp wit and unsuspecting sense of humor. He loved technology and was amazed at the advancements he was able to see (and be a part of) during his lifetime.
Spending an evening around the dinner table with family and friends brought him immense joy. Nearly every gathering was filled with music and merriment. Faith was central to his life and he faithfully read his Bible to Elaine each morning as they sipped their coffee together. Dalton continually gave glory to God for everything in his life, always noting the grace and mercy God poured out on him. He passed along his philosophy of giving back to his children and grand-children, creating a lasting legacy. His life was a gift and we are grateful.
A celebration of life service will be held at Mountain View Presbyterian Church (8050 E Mountain View Rd, Scottsdale, AZ) on Wednesday, January 19th, 2022 at 2:00pm. A private graveside service is planned.
Giving back was so important to Dalton. In honor of that passion, the family requests that in lieu of flowers, a donation be made to one of the following charities: Time Out, Inc. (Payson, Arizona), Voice of the Martyrs, Smile Train