Wednesday, July 18, 2001

Obituary: Sidney Edward Knope - Class of 1928

CHARLESTON, S.C./MADISON [Wisconsin] - Sidney Edward Knope, an almost lifelong resident of Madison, died at Roper Hospital in Charleston, S.C., after a heart attack on Sunday, June 24, 2001. He passed the following day with his children at his side. Sid was born on Feb. 23, 1911, in Madison. He was a 1928 graduate of Madison Central High School and earned an economics degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1932. He devoted 42 years to state government in Wisconsin, employed by the Industrial Commission, where he helped pioneer the administration of unemployment compensation. In his youth, Sid was the city champion speed skater. He also participated in baseball and bowling leagues. He was active in his support of the Madison Scouts Drum & Bugle Corps in the 1960s. He and his wife, Perle, were loyal supporters of the Madison Symphony, the Madison Theatre Guild and were charter members of the Friends of the Madison Civic Center. He volunteered to usher, take tickets and lead backstage tours of the Civic Center from shortly after it opened in 1980 until 1999, when he was 88. He had worked his way through college ushering for vaudeville shows and big band concerts at the Orpheum Theater and later at the Capitol Theater, which became the original Civic Center. Sid joked that he started out ushering for 27-1/2 cents per hour and worked his way up to doing it for free. He also helped write and produce stage shows in the early days of the Nakoma neighborhood and later for the West High School PTA. Although he dearly loved Madison, Sid and Perle traveled the world after his retirement. She used to tease him about never taking her out of Dane County. They built a home together on Waban Hill in Nakoma in 1938. He lived there for more than 60 years. She died in 1990. Sid moved to assisted living in Mount Pleasant, S.C., in September 2000, where he continued to follow Wisconsin State Journal articles about the Civic Center expansion with great interest. In February of this year, he celebrated his 90th birthday with four generations of his family, from five states. Real Wisconsin Badger ice cream was flown in for the occasion by his niece, Sue Small Knight. He leaves a daughter, Beth (Archie) Johnston of Edisto Beach, S.C.; and a son, David (Muriel) of Atlanta, Ga. He had four grandchildren, Mike (Amy) Thompson of Houston, Texas, and Dan (Vicki) Thompson, Laurie Hahn and Jonathan Knope, all of the Atlanta area. His great-grandchildren are Lana, Austin and Heather Thompson, and Mark and Jason Hahn, all of the Atlanta area. Nieces and nephews include Sue Knight and Don Small of Madison, and Phil Small of Germantown, Wis. Sid was preceded in death by his wife, Perle; and his sister, Wilma, both of Madison; sister-in-law, Bonnie Small of Princeton, N.J.; and brother-in-law, Ford Small of Madison. There will be a graveside service in Madison at Forest Hills Cemetery at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 21, 2001, and at 3:30 p.m. the family will be available for visitation at CRESS FUNERAL HOME, 3610 Speedway Road. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Friends of the Madison Civic Center, or a charity of the donors choice.

Originally published in the Wisconsin State Journal on July 18, 2001; submitted by Michael Vahldieck (Class of 1968)

Note: Doug Moe's column in The Capital Times on July 18, 2001 paid homage to Sid Knope and his lifelong love of theater.

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