Obituary of David Knott
KNOTT- David Mabon, 77, passed away peacefully at home in Mill Neck, NY on October 23, 2021, surrounded by family. David, the son of Margaret Mabon Knott and David Hurst Knott, junior, was born on September 21, 1944 in New York City. He grew up in Garden City, NY until he attended St. Paul's School in Concord, NH. From there, he attended the University of Pennsylvania and received a BA in Political Science (C'67) and an MBA from the Wharton School (WG'73).
David began his five-decade career in investing at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette where he served as Vice President in their retail/small institution division. In 1983, he left DLJ to join Mandrakos Associates as a general partner where he ran the firm's investments in the energy and financial services industries. In 1987, David founded Knott Partners, a value-focused hedge fund based on Long Island. He served on the Board of Directors of several public companies: Paramount Resources (Calgary, Alberta), Ligand Pharmaceuticals (San Diego, CA) and ArborGen (Auckland, New Zealand). More than anything, he made it his life's mission to give back. David and his wife, Ginny, endowed scholarships and professorships at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. David helped manage the University of Pennsylvania's undergraduate financial aid program and served on the Executive Board of Trustees at the Wharton School for nine years. He was also deeply passionate about supporting communities in need and served on the Board of Trustees and Investment Committees for Say Yes to Education (New York City) and Boy's and Girl's Harbor (New York City), and was a Board Member of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (Cold Spring Harbor, NY). Additionally, David served as a founding Trustee and Chairman of the Investment Committee of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, LA. This role was especially close to his heart as his father perished in combat in Italy just months shy of D-Day. David named the Italian Campaign exhibit in honor of his father whom he only met once as an infant.
David will be remembered for his love of his wife, Ginny, and three children for whom he felt limitless affection. His family will spend a lifetime reminiscing about David's funny quirks: running late at night, blasting music throughout the house and donning his purple scarf everywhere he went, regardless of the season. He had a deep faith in God and cherished his time on the Vestry of St. John's of Lattingtown Church. His ambition was inspiring to all who knew him, as was his commitment to leading a life of continuous education. He challenged himself and those around him to remain curious and open to learning.
David is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 40 years, Virginia Commander Knott; and his three children, Katharine Commander Knott and fiancé, Kevin Schmitt of Vail, CO; David Mabon Knott, junior of New York City; and Virginia Knott Leachman, her husband, Scott Rawlings Leachman, junior and his granddaughter, Virginia Righton Leachman of New York City. He is also survived by his sister, Margaret Benham (David); sister-in-law, Wylene Commander; niece, Eliza Holladay (Addison); and nephews, Belton Baker (Elizabeth) and Clifton Benham (Anna)
The funeral will be held on Friday, October 29th, at 11:00 am at St. John's of Lattingtown Church.
In the spirit of his philanthropy, any donations — no matter the amount — would be greatly appreciated to: Alzheimer's Research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 1 Bungtown Road, Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724 / give.cshl.edu
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