Dr. William P. Knox III, 85, longtime York County veterinarian

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WYD-William P Knox III
Dr. William P. Knox III

Dr. William P. (Bill) Knox III, of Seaford, died at home on Wednesday, August 17, 2016 after a long illness. He was 85.

He was born in Hilton Village, Newport News, Virginia on January 10, 1931 to William Pirret and Agnes (Nan) Ramsay Knox. Bill attended school at Hilton Elementary, Christ Church School in Urbanna and Hampden Sydney College. He was drafted into the United States Army during the Korean War, before moving to Seaford in 1953 and marrying Joyce Mary Phillips of Newport News on August 20, 1955 at the Hilton Presbyterian Church.

He continued his education at Virginia Polytechnic Institute for pre-veterinary medicine, and graduated from the University of Georgia, School of Veterinary Medicine, in 1959. Bill and Joyce had two wonderful sons during that time, William Pirret, “Perry” and David Ross Knox.

After practicing veterinary medicine from his home on Cheadle Loop Road in Seaford, Dr. Knox built the first veterinary hospital in York County, York Veterinary Hospital, on Route 17 in 1961 for large and small animals. He remained at the site until his retirement in 1999, when he sold his practice to Anita Weidinger, DVM. In addition to his veterinary work, Bill was the first Republican in over 100 years to serve on the York County Board of Supervisors, serving two terms. He had the privilege of serving as a delegate to two national Republican conventions. Many changes have occurred in York County since he moved here in 1953.

Bill had so much to offer during his life. As a young boy he was trapping, fishing and camping with his best friend Lear Ponton. As a man, he planted and harvested an acre garden, and was known to “have enough green peas to feed all of Seaford.” After Joyce broke both of her ankles in a six-week period, he loved to tell Joyce “A man should never plant more than his wife can hoe and pick.” Bill’s love of wood is seen in the beautiful hand-drawn Windsor chairs he learned to make with Michael Dunbar, in the bed he made with Martin Carter, in the bowls he learned to turn with the Tidewater Turners of Virginia, as well as the custom finishes and other furnishings found in his home and in the wood tacked in his barns, all from material cut with his Wood-Mizer sawmill. He was a charter member of Yorkminster Presbyterian Church, serving as a deacon and Sunday school teacher. He was a member of the Tidewater Veterinary Medical Association, Virginia Veterinary Medical Association, and the American Veterinary Medical Association.

He was a board member of the Speech and Hearing Association, charter member of Yorktown Rotary Club and charter member of Tidewater Turners of Virginia. Bill also believed in contributing to his community, including donating the addition to the Red Cross building in Yorktown, and donating his services and practice site for the care and training of the York County K-9 unit, and hosting many Rotary-sponsored picnics for terminally ill children and their families. Bill’s greatest joy was the birth of his granddaughters, Bonnie and Kacey. He loved to watch them put on fashion shows, perform in dance recitals, swim at Marlbank pool, and take them to the park, museums and on vacations. They gave him such pleasure, and “Poppy” will be desperately missed by his girls. They were three peas in a pod!

Bill was preceded in death by his parents William and Agnes “Nan” Knox, and his son Pirret. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Joyce Mary Phillips Knox; his son David Ross Knox and wife Stacey; granddaughters Bonnie Marie and Kacey Cathleen Knox; his brother G. Ramsay Knox; and his “adopted son,” Lou Gioia.

A celebration of life will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, August 21, 2016, at Yorkminster Presbyterian Church with Pastor Mark Jernigan officiating. A graveside service will be held at 12:30 p.m. Monday, August 22, 2016 in Peninsula Memorial Park.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Yorkminster Presbyterian Church, 6218 George Washington Memorial Highway, Yorktown, Virginia 23692, or an organization of your choice in memory of Dr. Knox.

The family would like to express their sincerest thanks to his caregivers who made it possible for him to remain at home: Marcia, Kerene, Daisha, Emma, Linda, and the teams of Riverside Hospice, Heather and Danielle, Riverside Home Health, and Dr. Teresa McConaughy from Riverside House Calls.