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Robert's Story

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Robert W."Bill" Knodler, 89, has passed away after a short illness. Rising from the mean streets of Flatbush/Carnarsie Brooklyn, Bill lived a full life of service and adventure. He joined the U.S. Merchant Marine and had sailed around the world before the age of 18 but after a few years of this and wanting to settle down, he left the Merchant Marines to work the piers of Red Hook, Brooklyn as a longshoreman. Shortly after marrying "the only woman who truly loved him," he was drafted into an Army combat infantry unit during the Korean War. Using his Brooklyn street smarts, he was able to trade his flame thrower for a Browning Automatic Rifle on his first day of combat in the notorious Iron Triangle. Serving on the front lines, he received battlefield promotions to Staff Sergeant and fought in such engagements as the battle of Spud Hill.
Coming home unscathed, he returned to his life as a longshoreman. With the birth of his only child, he wanted more security and so became a NYC Police Officer, serving his entire 20 year tenure at the 103 precinct in South Jamaica, Queens. The busiest precinct in NYC at the time. He patrolled within a 2.3 square mile area, amid daily murder and mayhem, receiving a commendation for thwarting an armed robbery. With the approval of the NYPD, Bill and other NYC police officers provided security for the 1969 Woodstock music festival. He told many stories of those three days - all good, no violence, just kids having fun.
After 20 years, he retired from the NYPD and started to travel. Always loving the outdoor life, he pulled a travel trailer to Alaska twice, did fly-in hunting and fishing trips to Hudson Bay and Nova Scotia and rode his prized Honda Goldwing to the west coast twice, plus numerous trips up and down the east coast with his motorcycle club, the Blue Knights. Eventually true retirement beckoned and he had his and Margaret's retirement home built in Wilmington, N.Y. Between landscaping, gardening, woodworking, and hunting and fishing, his time was well spent and enjoyed. Splitting and stacking wood was also an activity he continued until age 86. There was no stopping the man. Never afraid of hard work or a chance to pitch in, he will be sorely missed, by all whose lives he touched.
He was son to Annie, devoted to wife Margaret and beloved father to Edward, and is survived by Edward and numerous nieces and nephews.
Calling hours will be held on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Thwaits-Zaumetzer Funeral Home. A funeral service will follow at 8 p.m. at the funeral home.
Published on November 8, 2017
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