George H. Knell

September 13, 1930 ‒ March 02, 2017

Mansfield, Ohio

MANSFIELD: George Knell’s positive attitude led to positive outcomes. His hardworking, upbeat and generous personality traits fashioned him into an amazing role model. Never flashy, but with a quick wit (and a little bit of sass) he lovingly put others’ needs before his own.

George’s smile is left to memory as he passed into the Lord’s care Thursday afternoon March 2, 2017 at OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital. He was 86.

Born September 13, 1930 in Mansfield to parents Arch and Mary (Freehafer) Knell, he was graduated from Bellville High School in 1948. While studying at The Ohio State University, he enlisted to serve with the US Army during the Korean War, and after his discharge, he returned to OSU to doggedly pursue his dream of becoming an attorney – and making a difference in his world. He earned his Bachelors of Business Administration degree and his JD, law degree from OSU.

After one year with a Mansfield law firm, George opened his own practice in the Richland Bank building – a firm that would bear his name more than 40 years. George took in partners through the years, and the practice grew: the name Knell was synonymous with sagacious legal counsel in Mansfield.

George formerly served as assistant solicitor for the City of Mansfield, and village solicitor to both Bellville and Lucas. His interest in youth led him to serve on the Clear Fork School Board and he helped establish, as attorney adviser, the Mock Trial program at Madison High School.

He was a member of the American Bar Association, Richland County Bar Association (past president), American Legion Post #535, Mansfield Grotto, Masonic Lodge #35, and Bellville Presbyterian Church, where he formerly served as a deacon and on session. George was a life member of Bellville-Jefferson Township Historical Society.

He leaves a legacy to his family as a man who valued them, believed in them, and invested in them. His compassionate support – putting them first – always – instilled unconditional love and worth.

He is survived by his wife Betty (Waggoner) Knell, whom he married December 19, 1954; their children Michael (Beverly) Knell of Mansfield and Lori (Thomas) Hoyt of Mansfield; grandchildren Ryan Knell, Tyler (Tiffany) Knell, Dustin Knell, Kristy (Josh) Ramey, Courtney (Tyler) Barwick, and Andrew Hoyt; step grandchildren Stephenie Beal and Kristine Beal; great grandchildren Grace Knell, Payton Hoyt—Barwick, and Riley Barwick; step great grandson Landon Beal; and a niece Sharon See of Mansfield.

He was preceded in death by a sister Margery Francola.

The Knell family will receive friends Monday, March 6, 2017 from 3 to 7 p.m. in the Bellville Snyder Funeral Home, where his funeral service will be held Tuesday at 11 a.m. Celebrant Dave Roberts will officiate. Burial will follow in Bellville Cemetery where American Legion Post #535 will hold graveside military honors.

Contributions in George’s memory to either Bellville-Jefferson Township Historical Society or Bellville Presbyterian Church may be made at the funeral home.

Snyder Funeral Home is honored to serve the Knell family. Send them a message of sympathy – or watch George’s tribute video – online at:


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  • Sad news…. My sincere sympathy to the entire Knell family. May God bless all of you with peace and happy memories…
    Terri (Flynn) Catino

  • Sincere sympathy to George’s family. Not only was he an excellent attorney but one of the kindest, compassionate and loyal persons I have ever known. For many years he was my mother’s legal guardian and provided her with excellent care and honest concern for her well being and comfort. Without him, I would not have been able to cope with many of the issues that arose while trying to care for my mother who suffered from a life long mental illness. I will forever be grateful to George for all that he did for not only my mother but for me. He will be sorely missed. Rest in peace George, you were a good soul.

  • To Betty and family I extend my deepest sympathy. He was one great man and was so kind and thoughtful. He will be sadly missed. My thoughts and prayers are with the family.

  • Great neighbor who kept the yard looking like King wood center. I will miss our talks over the backyard fence. Betty and family, you have our sincere sympathy. Connie and I will miss him.

  • Betty, Lori, and Family,
    I am so sorry for your loss. Lori helped my family so much in the loss of our mother, and we so appreciated that. I am now more aware of how hard it is to lose a parent, and so my heart goes out to your family. Ted

  • Lori and the Knell family,
    I’m so sorry for your loss. Attorney Knell was so kind when he would come into the Probate Court. He was one of my favorite attorneys who always had a smile and a kind word for the clerks. May your wonderful memories of him bring you comfort.

    • Betty,Mike and Lori and all your families I am so sorry for the passing of your Dear husband Father and grandfather he was a great man and will surely be missed I feel your pain

  • Betty, Lori, Michael and family I am so sorry to hear of the passing of George. It was always a pleasure to work with you guys over the years. I always enjoyed talking to George, he always had a smile. You are in my prayers, take care.

  • We are so sorry for your loss. it was everyone’s loss who knew George! He was a great friend and neighbor and we will miss the many conversations we had with him and Betty. We always left with a chuckle!

  • To the Knell family, my dad Lou and I would like give our deepest sympathy to you all in the loss of a great person named George. He will be missed by many.

  • Both my husband and myself knew George as an attorney and had a great deal of respect for him. I know the love George’s family has for him as I saw them spending countless hours in the hospital with him around Christmas time . I know that as my mother , Anne was in Mansfield Ohio Health at the same time. ( I am John Massie’s aunt and we spoke during that time). We are so saddened to hear of George’s passing. I know this extremely painful journey, having gone through it with both the loss of my father and brother . My prayers are with you all. May God give you strength as you go through this journey of loss. We are thinking of you.

  • Dear Betty, Lori, Mike and your families: George was truly a precious man. He will be missed by many. Lori has always been there to help our family during troubling times. When George was hospitalized, Lori still found time and compassion to help us with caring for Joyce from November 28th until her passing on January 18th. We feel blessed to have friends like the Kneels and Hoyts. MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL !

    Art Snyder

  • Dear Betty & family, We are sorry to hear of George’s passing . Words are spoken but only God’s love & time will help you down the road you are walking. Our love and prayers are with you all during this time and the days ahead