John Knieriem, RN, 80, died May 2, 2017, at the Elliot Hospital, surrounded by his loving family. He was born July 25, 1936, in Nyack, NY, the son of Matthew and Ethel (Kelly) Knieriem.
After high school, John enlisted in the US Army and went on to earn his BS degree in Electronic Engineering. He worked in the aerospace industry in California for some years, returning to the East coast to work for Grumman Aircraft on the lunar module that carried astronauts to the moon's surface. He worked for other companies in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, eventually settling his family in Manchester in 1973, where he was employed as Production Manager at Autosyringe, which manufactured the world's first portable, wearable infusion and insulin pumps.
His wish to become more involved in the medical field led John to enroll in nursing school at the age of 61. After graduating with his RN degree, he joined the Elliot Hospital Emergency Department. In 2005, he travelled to New Orleans with the Red Cross to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina.
John was a longtime member of the National Ski Patrol, serving over the years at Loon Mountain, Ragged Mountain, and Pat's Peak, where he patrolled until his recent illness. In 1988, he joined the Mt. Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol at Tuckerman Ravine and became its Director in 1994, serving in that role until his passing. He was also a member of the NH Search and Rescue Council. John was a past president and board member of the Manchester Central High Booster Club, as well as president of the board of the former Manchester Area Family Planning.
John loved to ride his bicycle, for many years doing long distance rides to raise money for charities. His favorite was the MDA Trans NH ride, a three-day, 250-mile trek from the Canadian border to Portsmouth. He also enjoyed kayaking with his wife Carol and riding the seacoast with his good friends Paul and Lisa Kling. John completed the Cycle to the Clouds bicycle race up Mt. Washington, twice. In 1996, he walked the 100th Boston Marathon, proudly finishing last among the NH participants, with a time of 6:49:15. John was a five-time cancer survivor who never let the disease stand in the way of reaching his goals.
He was a beloved grandfather and enthusiastic supporter of his grandchildren's activities and could always be found on the sidelines at their sporting events, and in the audience at every concert, dance recital and school play.
He was predeceased by his brothers Matthew, James, and Michael.
John's family includes his wife of 59 years, Carol (Freese); daughter Sandra Dunfey, RN, of Columbus, GA; sons David Knieriem and his wife Donna of Austin, TX, and Jeffrey Knieriem and his wife Claudette of Hooksett, NH; sisters Anne Knieriem of Tappan, NY, and Mary Johnston of Sun City, Arizona; brother Patrick Knieriem of Pearl River, N;, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
The Knieriem family would like to thank the nursing staff of Elliot Hospital's Fuller Unit for their thoughtful care during John's final days.
Services: There are no calling hours. A celebration of John's life will be held on Saturday, June 3, from 1:00-4:00 p.m. at the Manchester Country Club, 140 South River Rd., Bedford, NH.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in John's memory to the Queen City Bike Collective, which helps Manchester area residents ride safe, affordable bikes and have the opportunity to fix them, at QCBike.org, or to the Friends of Tuckerman Ravine at friendsoftuckermanravine.org (Go to the Donate tab)
Friends and family are invited to share their photos and memories of John at Facebook.com/ John D Knieriem. The Cremation Society of New Hampshire is assisting the family with arrangements.