Former Library Director Dan Knoch
| Collegian ArchivesLibrary staff planted a tree on campus last week to honor the memory of the late Library Director Dan Knoch, who died shortly before his retirement in 2019.
“The metaphor of a tree seems appropriate to me,” Knoch’s former library coworker Dan Joldersma said. “Genealogists often talk about the family tree. They trace roots and origins that form trunks, develop many branches which give rise to beautiful leaves, flowers, and seedlings.”
On Sept. 23, Mossey library staff held a tree dedication ceremony in honor of Knoch in the Heritage Room. After working in technical services for the library for 24 years, Knoch served as library director from 2000 until his retirement in 2019.
“Dan loved his Ohio family,” Joldersma said. “He has deep roots in Ohio. One could say Dan developed a sturdy trunk in Hillsdale in service to the community, to the college, to his church, and of course, to the Mossey Library.”
College Chaplain Father Adam Rick conducted a brief service speaking to Knoch’s character and the significance of the tree.
“We give you thanks for the life, witness, and service of Dan Knoch, given to our college for so many years, and shared freely with his friends and family for a full and happy lifetime,” Rick said, “and we dedicate this tree in his honor.” The tree is located near the campus amphitheater between Mossey Library and Delp Hall.
“It’s wonderful to have him memorialized this way,” Knoch’s wife Carol said. “Campus obviously meant a lot to him and he would walk by that area all the time because he would always walk down to swim every lunch.”
Knoch was a beloved figure of the Hillsdale community, Library Director Maurine McCourry said.
“He was funny and always very nice,” she said. “You mention Dan to anyone and they would say he was always wonderful.”
“He was friends with everybody,” Nancy Craimer, a friend of Knoch, said.
McCourry spoke of the 19-year work relationship she had with Knoch and his humor.
“He was such a joy to work with,” she said. “At the reception for his retirement, Dan had prepared remarks that were just the funniest thing.”
Knoch was also an active member in the Hillsdale community, sitting on the zoning board for the citycouncil.
“He always remembered people’s names,” Carol said. “At his funeral visitation, so many people said, ‘He always knew my name.’”
A few of Knoch’s friends offered remarks in his memory.
“Our wish today is that the roots of this tree planted spread strong and deep just as Dan did for every soul that he touched,” Joldersma said. “May the tree grow and blossom in memory of Dan and serve as a tribute to a life very well lived.”
Rick concluded the ceremony in offering a blessing over the tree.
“Today, we dedicate this buckeye tree in Dan’s honor. We ask you Lord God to bless it and to grow it,” he said. May its roots grow firm and its branches grow abroad, and may you use its health and vitality to enkindle in us a reminder of the man whose life also flourished in this place.”