Obituary: George Robert Knapp / Brought analytical mind to city firms for decades

Oct. 8, 1947 - July 21, 2014

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George Knapp, a Pittsburgh attorney known for his sharp mind and logical nature who for many years helped run a private equity investment firm founded by the Tippins family in Pittsburgh, died Monday of oral cancer at a hospice near Jacksonville, Fla. He was 66.

“George was a very analytical, bright, sharp, wise person. There aren’t many like George,” said Ken Moritz, who met Mr. Knapp as a summer associate at K&L Gates, Downtown, nearly 30 years ago and worked with him closely for the past 13 years at Stonewood Capital Management, the Tippins’ family investment firm.

Many relied on Mr. Knapp for his guidance and wisdom, Mr. Moritz said.

“He was able to make judgments when others might be clouded. He was a mentor to me in all ways.”

Mr. Knapp, who held degrees from Colgate University and Harvard Law School, was born in Bethlehem, Pa., and raised in New Jersey.

He came to Pittsburgh in 1972 as a young law school graduate to join the former Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, now K&L Gates.

While at the law firm, Mr. Knapp worked on deals for the steel equipment company Tippins Inc. — which the family sold in 1998 — forging a business and personal friendship with the Tippins family.

In 1996, Mr. Knapp left the law firm to join Stonewood.

Mr. Knapp and his second wife, Susan, whom he married in 1989, moved from Mt. Lebanon to Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., 10 years ago, but he remained busy with Stonewood, maintaining an office in Downtown.

Most recently, he focused on running the Tippins Foundation, the Tippins family’s charitable arm.

In Ponte Vedra Beach, Mr. Knapp was active in Ponte Vedra Presbyterian Church, where he sang in the choir and established a fellowship fund.

Over the past four years, he enjoyed traveling to golf tournaments to watch his youngest daughter, Sarah, a top golfer at Dartmouth College, said his wife, the former Susan Rutter, who grew up in Pleasant Hills.

In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Knapp is survived by daughters Katherine of Pittsburgh and Laura Knapp Mazzotta of Stormville, N.Y.; his mother, Adelaide of Newton, N.J.; sister Barbara Lawshe of Blairstown, N.J.; and two grandchildren.

A memorial service is set for Saturday at Ponte Vedra Presbyterian Church.


Patricia Sabatini: psabatini@post-gazette.com or 412-263-3066.


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