August 25, 1963 ~ July 23, 2019

Born in: Los Angeles, CA
Resided in: Fletcher, NC

Dr. Troy Alan Knechtel, 55, entered his eternal home on Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019, while surrounded by family at the Elizabeth House in Flat Rock, NC.

Troy was born in Los Angeles, CA, on August 25th, 1963, to Gordon and the late Nancy (Garmo) Knechtel. At six feet ten inches tall, he used his athletic talents to play basketball at Hemet High School, Westmont College, professionally in Germany and Brazil, and to minister for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ for several years with Sports Ambassadors. His career as a teacher and administrator led him all over the country, including, most recently, to Tennessee, where he served as the University School Director at East Tennessee State University. His heart for children and passion for learning were evident in every life he touched.

With gentle humility, patience, and selflessness, Troy continually considered those around him to be more significant than himself (Philippians 2:3). In all he did, Troy sought to live out the wisdom of Proverbs 3:5-6 (“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”)

Troy is survived by his wife (Sue), his children (Meghan and Adam) and their spouses, his grandson (Theo), his brothers (Doug, Dave, and Bryan), his father (Gordon), several nieces, nephews, extended relatives, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and countless other souls who were blessed by the grace of God through the life Troy lived.

A memorial service and celebration of Troy’s life will be held at 2:30pm on Sunday, August 18th, 2019, at Calvary Chapel Hemet located at 26121 Hemet Street in Hemet, CA.

In lieu of flowers, the family is suggesting donations to the MSA Coalition – an organization devoted to discovering a cure for the disease that took Troy’s life;


Memorial Service: August 18, 2019 2:30 pm

Calvary Chapel Hemet
26121 Hemet Street
Hemet, CA 92544

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  1. Our deepest sympathies to the Knechtel family. Dr. Knechtel had a profound impact on the students at University School. He knew the names of the students, high fived them daily and got them excited for the day by blaring music in the morning. We pray for peace and comfort during this difficult time.

  2. Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
    Who may stand in His holy place?
    The one who has clean hands and a pure heart.
    Psalm 24: 3-4

    I see my brother in Christ, Troy ascending the mountain and standing in the Lords holy place. Love and Peace to the family.

  3. Dr. Knectel had a wonderful relationship with my son who is dyslexic. When my son was in third grade the two of them read a book about dyslexia to the third grade class to help others understand my son’s struggles. My son will never grow to 6’10”, but his esteem of himself grew that tall that day all because of the connection with Dr. K.

  4. I am a University School parent that is thankful for the time my children got to spend with this kind man-He was always so friendly and funny and willing to step in and help us all. He will be greatly missed. Prayers to the family.

  5. Our sons attend University School and we’re very fond of Dr. Knechtel. At the “Meet and Greet” when he came to UH, Dr. Knechtel expressed his faith and thankfulness to be leading our school, and I saw him live that whenever he was with the students. My heartfelt condolences to his family.

  6. With the highest regard for Dr K may we remember him for his gentle kindness and respect for children. He will be remember with fondness by our family. Our separation on Earth is only temporary until you meet him again in heaven, may you find comfort in knowing he is in the presence of our God. If we get jobs in heaven, he will no doubt receive the honor of holding open the gates of heaven welcoming everyone inside.

  7. A wonderful man, a wonderful boss. I still have, and cherish, all his inspirational and supportive emails he would send us. I still, to this day, see him walking the hallways with a great big smile and always a word of kindness. My deepest condolences to his family and friends. He was one of a kind.

  8. Sorry for your great loss so quickly, I love & respect the Family who I watched most of them grow up; see you in the presence of our Lord😇

  9. Troy was the best principal a school could ever have 🙂 Coyote Canyon was very lucky to have him . All the kids adored Dr. K and they all were excited to see him on the playground. He had a great heart to the children and staff ❤ you will be greatly missed.
    Melissa Stone

  10. As a great friend for over 30 years, and our kids growing up together there are so many wonderful memories. Troy aka Big Dog had the gift of humor and could share a story with the best of them. I recall him telling of how he entered an elevator with a little old lady. Of course she asked if he played basketball? but he couldn’t leave it there. He asked if she played miniature golf? He was driven and gifted but his desire to be Christlike is what caused Troy to be the man he was. He has ridden the Glory train (Cathedrals quartet) and is enjoying his eternal destiny-that is what matters most at the end of the day.

  11. Beverly Stanford Stearns,
    Troy was one of my most favorite doctoral students and I was honored to be the chair of his dissertation committee. He was a superb researcher and completed an outstanding dissertation: EFFECTIVE INSTRUCTIONAL MANAGEMENT: PERCEPTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FROM HIGH SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS, December 2010. More important than those accomplishments was who he was as a person. My husband died shortly before Troy’s most active time in his dissertation, and Troy could not have been kinder to me as we connected online about his dissertation. He was a huge man physically who had a huge heart for fellowmen and God. My sympathies for to the loved ones, students, colleagues, and friends. What a loss to all of us – but what a gain, too, that he impacted all of us with his spirit, humor, values, and strength. If you would like me to send you a copy of his dissertation, please let me know at my email address below and I will send it to you. May God comfort you now.
    Troy Knechtel

    A dissertation submitted to the

    • Sorry, the words that followed “May God comfort you now” should have been deleted. Also, my email address apparently didn’t appear. Here is it Bev Stanford Stearns

  12. Dr. Knechtel was a kind and caring man and my children loved and respected him. He was a great Director at University School and always had time for his students. He treated my children with love, care and respect. The school will miss him and my family will miss him tremendously. Our love and prayers go to his wife, children and all of his family.

  13. I have find memories of Troy . We attended High school & church together. Always a smile & a kind word.
    My condolences to his family.

  14. So sad to hear of his passing. He was such a genuinely kind person who cared about the school and students. Rest In Peace sir.

  15. Troy and I were co captains of our college basketball team at Westmont our Senior year. We battled and played really hard together for 4 years as teammates. Something many will not know but Troys coaches and mentors at Westmont (Chet Kammerer and Randy Pfund) had a rule that all of their BIG MEN had to run the mile under 6 minutes before they were allowed to start practicing. One year (Troys Sophomore year) he had to run the mile 3x and finally made it in less than 6 minutes and dove across the finish line. Troy was not born to be a sprinter or long distance runner, but he sure knew how to give his best effort and his efforts inspired me. I am from Seattle and will be there to honor and respect Troys life. .

  16. To a great friend! The Hefley’s will always remember the fun times with the Knechtel family. We love you all!

  17. Dr. Knechtel was the most kindhearted soul, the kids loved him here a Pomeroy Elementary in Milpitas CA. We were so fortunate to have had our short time with him as our principal. So sad to hear of his passing. He is gone but will never be forgotten. His legacy will live on.


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