KNAPP, David E., award-winning journalist, former Executive Editor of the Lubbock Avalanche- Journal (A-J) and later co-owner of Knapp Communications, Inc., (KCI), passed away February 3, 2013 at his home surrounded by family and friends.
His career in journalism spanned 50 years, starting as a sports columnist in the Wheeling, W.Va., area at age 16, and continuing until he retired from the A-J 1990, with a break for the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War years. After leaving The A-J, he joined Knapp Communications, Inc., and served as its Chief Executive Officer until his death.
Mr. Knapp was born in Moundsville, W.Va., to Phelan and Bernice Clarke Knapp on August 10, 1931. During his career, he was twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize- first for solving a bizarre murder on the campus of Texas Tech University where a university employee was brutally slain. The second nomination was for his leadership after the newspaper sustained a direct hit from a tornado in 1970. The Associated Press and United Press International also honored the storm coverage.
This experience with crime and prevention enabled him to become a founding member and later president of Crime Line, Inc., a non-profit volunteer organization in Lubbock that provides cash rewards for tips on crime incidents and the model for the current nationwide Crimestoppers Program. Crime Line was the first organization of its kind in America.
In his newspaper career, he won numerous community and public service awards, including first place honors from the Texas Headliners Club and the National Headliners Club for distinguished service in Journalism. He is a former president of the Texas UPI Editors Association and served three, three-year terms on the School of Mass Communications Advisory Council at Texas Tech University (TTU). Later at KCI, he maintained a leadership role in the public relations company which was founded by his wife in 1983.
Mr. Knapp is survived by his wife, Jeanne; his sister, Mrs. Russell (Jackie) White of Moundsville; his six children: David and Sharon Knapp of Corpus Christi; Mark and Debbie Knapp of Wichita Falls; Terry Knapp of Richland Hills; Steven and Debbie Knapp of North Richland Hills; Herbert Knapp of Lubbock; Mark and Debra Billington of Lubbock; and 13 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
A Memorial Service is scheduled for February 16th at Trinity Episcopal Church of The Woodlands. Memorials in lieu of flowers should be directed to Trinity Episcopal Church-Woodlands, www.trinitywoodlands.org.