Joan Van Tilburg
August 10, 1932 - December 15, 2019
Joan Saunders VanTilburg of Bayonet Point, FL, passed away with family by her side Dec. 15, 2019, following a valiant fight against cancer. Joan, a longtime environmentalist, women’s rights and political activist, nature lover and pet rescuer, was born in Antigo, WI. In high school, she was remembered for her radiant smile while leading the marching band as a majorette and heading the football team to the field while riding her horse bareback.
She graduated from Northwestern University where she served as the first female program director for the college radio station and met her husband, Stanley Knapp. Stanley died tragically in a plane accident at a young age leaving Joan caring for four young children. She taught speech briefly at Purdue University’s Ft. Wayne campus before moving the family to Keeseville, NY where she was recognized for her award-winning marketing and public relations programs while serving as Vice president of Keeseville National Bank and later Champlain Valley Federal Savings and Loan.
Holding numerous positions as a civic leader in the Plattsburgh, NY area, she found time to narrate and model for business and charitable events and was named “Woman of the Year” from the Champlain Valley Business and Professional Woman’s Club.
She then moved to Florida where she and her husband, Jim VanTilburg, embarked in several business ventures sharing roles with Citrus Magic’s line of product sales and distribution. Pursuing her passion for the arts, she also served as the third board chair for the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art in Tarpon Springs where her leadership and member engagement catapulted the museum to financial gains, membership growth and enhanced public awareness. She also served as board chair for the Pasco Fine Arts Council.
Joan is survived by sons Steve Knapp of King Ferry, NY, Geoff Knapp and wife Parvin of Portland, OR, Greg Knapp of Charlotte, NC, and Brad Knapp and wife Darci of Keeseville, NY, Cyndi Hodges and husband Charles Hodges of Jamestown, NY. She leaves behind grandsons Colden Knapp of King Ferry, NY, Graham Knapp of Tucson, AZ, and Brian Knapp of Charlotte, NC. She also leaves behind granddaughters Haley and Gillian Knapp of Portland, OR, Erin Knapp of Charlotte, NC and great-granddaughter Odessa Knapp of Tucson, AZ.
A memorial service will be held at Michels & Lundquist Funeral Home, 5228 Trouble Creek Rd., New Port Richey, FL 34652. Service begins at 11 am and a small luncheon will follow. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center, 440 N Falkenburg Rd., Tampa, FL 33619 (813-744-5660) or by clicking the link “Donate Now”