Robert Vic Gail Knowles

April 25, 1938November 5, 2013

Robert Gail “Vic” Knowles, age 75, of Wilmington, NC, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, November 5, 2013, at his home.

Vic was born on April 25, 1938, in Mt. Olive, NC, son of the late Henrietta Crow Knowles and Jesse Jackson Knowles.

He is a 1956 graduate of New Hanover High School and of Wilmington College and went on to earn his BS degree in Chemistry in 1960 from North Carolina State University. His value of education is evident by his perfect attendance from first grade through college.

He began his career in June, 1960, with Riegelwood Paper/Federal Paper Board Company as a paper processing engineer. After 39 years he retired as group leader for paper development with International Paper of Riegelwood.

His true love was being with his family, establishing traditions which will continue for many generations. Vic and Frances enjoyed traveling to unique places, the love of good food and life experiences.

He was an avid supporter of the Wolfpack of NC State and the Seahawks of UNCW. He enjoyed all levels of sporting activities from youth programs through professional events.

Vic was a very active member of Wrightsville United Methodist Church, serving the church in many capacities throughout his long membership. He will be sadly missed by all those who knew and loved him.

Vic is survived by his wife of 51 years, Frances Fortner Knowles; sister Katherine Knowles Plummer and husband Kenneth of Wilmington; son Brett Carlton Knowles and wife Amy of Wilmington; daughters Laren Knowles Rutland and husband Bill of Waxhaw, NC; Shannon Knowles Luhrsen and husband Michael of Wilmington. His grandchildren, who affectionately call him “Popeye,” Brittain Elizabeth Knowles, Savanah Gray Knowles, Matthew Jack Luhrsen,, Cole Ewing Luhrsen, Cade Jackson Rutland, and Kyle Arundel Rutland.

A gathering of family and friends will be held from 5:00 to 7:00 pm on Sunday, November 10, 2013, in the fellowship hall of Wrightsville United Methodist Church.

Graveside service will be held at 11:00 am on Monday, November 11, 2013, at Oleander Memorial Gardens, 306 Bradley Drive, Wilmington, NC, 28409, with the Reverend Bob Bauman officiating.

Honorary Pallbearers will be Glen Thompson, Pete Peterson, Tommy Bancroft, Andy Mason, Milt Howard, and John Cowand.

The Knowles family wants everyone to know how appreciative they are for all the love, support, and kind words of encouragement from loyal friends, and for the care and compassion of the dedicated physicians and their staff.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Wrightsville United Methodist Church, 4 Live Oak Drive, Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480.

The staff of Coble Ward-Smith Funeral Home is honored to serve the family of Robert Gail “Vic” Knowles.


  • Gathering of Family and Friends Sunday, November 10, 2013
  • Graveside Service Monday, November 11, 2013

Robert Vic Gail Knowles

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November 20, 2013

I was saddened to learn of your loss. I apologize for my blondeness Sunday at Church. For some reason, I did not make the connection. Please know that you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.
The Freeman Family

Jack McPhail (Fales)

November 12, 2013

I met Gail at Lake Forest Junior High and went through Wilmington College with him. I have enjoyed reconnecting with "Vic" through e-mail about three years ago, and I will miss his many funny e-mails. ---Especially those that arrive around election time! I extend my wishes to all of his family as you adjust to life without his being physically with you.

November 11, 2013

As the days and weeks pass, and as you return to life's routine, may you continue to feel comforted by the love and support of family and friends.

Vivian Small Schneider

November 9, 2013

To the Knowles family,
We are so sorry for your loss. Please know that everyone is thinking of you. With Deepest Sympathy,

Your New Hanover High School Friends

Denise Leonard

November 9, 2013

Brett, just learned the news of your father. My heart knows your pain. George and I will keep you in our thoughts and prayer s each day.

Joshua Riddle

November 9, 2013

To the entire family, I send my most sincere condolences. This represents the loss of a great person and leaves an important void in lives even outside of his family. I for one felt very close to both Vic and Frances and no trip "home" was complete without being able to visit with them. Outside of my immediate family I can't think of two people who meant much more to me. I will be praying for Vic, frances and the family. I wont be able to attend the funeral but ask you to say goodbye to Vic in my absence. Please hug Frances tightly and send my love. I am so very sorry

clayton asbury

November 9, 2013

I first met Vic in the 8th grade at
Lake Forest JUNIOR HIGH and we quickly
became friends and went through New
Hanover High and NC State together .
He and Frances were special friends
and I always looked forward to seeing
them , when I attended our class
reunions . It was always a special
treat to spend time with them ,Don
and Dixie Peterson and many other
classmates . We had many special
friends in the Class of 1956 .
Frances and the family will be in
my prayers.
Clayton G. Asbury ,Sr.

Carl and Shelly Wilson

November 8, 2013

Brett and Family,

We are so sorry to learn of the loss of your father. Mr. Knowles had such a positive influence on us growing up and I am so grateful for the time that he spent with us and for the memories. We love you guys and are praying for your entire family.

H P & Mary Williamson

November 8, 2013

We're so sorry. We love you all. HP & Mary Williamson

November 8, 2013


I am so sorry for the loss of your father. I send my prayers to you and your family during this time.

Rose Potter