Daniel Edwin Knowlton
On an early fall day, George Britton McClellan Knowlton, splitting wood, quit his ax mid air noticing the
school bus. Small legs stuck out of homemade gingham shorts, the backside buffed with recess dirt,
stretched down the big steps. Grassy green knees kissed brown by the Connecticut sun stopped short at crumpled
white socks and worn shoes struggled up the driveway. Grandma Knowlton, kneeling in
the soft earth despite heavy Swedish skirt tresses, peered through the thick stemmed tomato plants.
Grandfather and Grandmother looked to the four year old, all they saw was a smile longer than an oak
log, wider than a squash and shining brighter than noonday sun. Daniel Edwin Knowlton was born December 27,
1943. By age four, his smile shone so bright, the cows didn't know when to come home and
the neighbors couldn't rest till he was put to bed and resounded to sleep.
He was born at Johnson Memorial Hospital in Stafford Springs, Connecticut, the eldest of eight children born to
Calvin Coolidge Knowlton (1921-2008) and Bertha Loretta (Curtis) Knowlton (1923-1990).
Calvin and Bertha brought him home to a house gifted them by Calvin’s father, George and to land
gifted them by Uncle Robert Knowlton the relocated home set on a dug foundation in the town of
Mansfield. Children came and additions expanded the home into the town of Ashford. The Knowlton
family were not the first settlers, but were founding fathers, generous in development and donation of
property with many landmarks bearing their name. It was within this setting that Daniel spent his
formative years, attending elementary school in Ashford, working on family farms, hunting with uncles
and neighbors, gardening with his grandparents and assisting his mother with historical and
genealogical research. Despite teachers notes that he distracted mates during lessons with play, talk,
pranks and laughter, he achieved highmarks. Scholastics ended at school, but his education continued at home.
He recollected at age five, getting off the school bus to find his grandfather had shot a
squirrel: he learned to pick out the ammunition, skin, skewer and cook the delicacy over an open fire.
Enjoying this meal, he used these skills in the following years to dress chickens, rabbits, turkeys and
other edible game.
At grade school age he experimented with any electronic available. His parents acquired a 'new fangled' telephone. Set in the
same room as the family radio, the temptation was too much. Soon the
transistor radio and rotary device were connected. Neighbors conversations, whether pleasant or not
resonated loudly through the house as the volume control on the radio allowed.
After graduating from Windham Regional Technical High School, Daniel joined the service. His natural genius for electronics was a boon to
the military and later led to building his own business. As a serviceman, he was charged with maintaining, repairing and operating electronic equipment.
The work classified and equipment volatile, vigilant and constant attention to detail was necessary for the safety of all on base.
Daniel married four times and fathered four children. He initially settled in Ashford, Connecticut, briefly
lived in New Hampshire, then later moved to New Jersey where he spent most of his life. Dynamic and talented, he opened his own business, Rainbow
Electronics, in Ocean City. Television, radio and electronic repair and maintenance were a mainstay of his work life. He loved music, listening to vinyl
records and tubing on the river. He made frequent holiday trips to Connecticut to visit family and friends. After meeting his fourth wife, Mary Fitzgerald,
they retired from Cape May, New Jersey to Hartford, Maine. In Maine, he fished, gardened, cut wood, drove his bucket loader, kept up his antique truck and continued
his commitment to mentoring, helping others through their difficult times. He was a lifelong student of the history and
Discovery channels, enjoyed westerns, game shows and older sitcoms. His appetite for life was only surpassed by his love of food.
Though a good cook, he daydreamed about the moose meat he ate in Vermont, added Red Baron to his prayers for their superior pizza creation,
clasped his hands in delight at the sight of roasted turkey and pies, said, "life can't get any better" when served seafood and clearly
viewed McDonalds drive-thru as an easy buffet.
Mary passed away in September of 2017. He remained in Hartford, Maine until health issues and need
for family presented a subsequent necessary move to Pennsylvania. He spent quality time with his
oldest daughter, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Though in hospital care, his last week was
spent with his daughters by his side. He celebrated his last Father’s Day with balloons, food and gifts.
He was always in positive spirit. The noon day sun dimmed on June 21, 2021. He shined his last
smile and passed peacefully, joining his beloved Mary. He leaves behind his daughters, Iona Cannavino of
Barton, New York, Kristine Knowlton of New Jersey, Daniel Gettys of New York, two loving
stepdaughters, Kris Jack and Kim Bedillion and granddaughter, Sydney of Pennsylvania. He was
predeceased by two infant sisters, Deborah Ellen (1950) and Alma Jean (1952), and a brother in law,
Joseph J. Sirico (2020) of Old Saybrook, CT. He leaves behind five brothers and sisters; Gerald
Knowlton and wife, Betty of Willington, CT., Annette Cote and husband, Marcel of Ashford, CT, Karen
Sirico of Old Saybrook, CT., Judith Fox and husband, Michael of Groveton, NH., Jonathan Knowlton and wife Pamela of Eastford, CT., numerous nieces, nephews,
grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Parents, Calvin and Bertha, purchased burial plots in the 1950's. In Knowlton tradition, they gifted these to their
children. The ashes of Daniel and Mary will be interred in a shared plot at the historic New
Storrs Cemetery on August 27th at 11:30am with family gathering to follow.
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