Lemley Chapel
Serving Sedro-Woolley &
All of Skagit County Since 1935
1008 Third Street
Sedro-Woolley, WA
Jon Knechtel Memorial
Jon Knechtel Memorial

Jon Knechtel

Jon Knechtel

Wednesday, April 13th, 2022

Jon Knechtel, 74, of Burlington, WA, passed away on Wednesday, April 13, 2022, after an unexpected battle with cancer, surrounded by loved ones who will continue to honor his legacy by living their lives to the fullest. Jon was born on July 17, 1947 to William and Dorothy Knechtel in Pittsburgh, PA. He was married to Barbara Wojno on October 21, 1967.

Jon worked for the US National Forest Service as a smokejumper in 1966 and met his wife while working at Department of Natural Resources. He was a talented millwright who worked for years in Skagit County, drove long haul truck and ended his career working for the Pacific NW Trail Association. He was instrumental in bringing the trail into the National Scenic Trail System in 2009, the gold standard among long-distance trails in America. He spent countless hours working with volunteer crews and youth to maintain the trail. Jon was also an active member of the Back Country Horsemen. With a great deal of integrity and respect, he did things that made a difference and has left his mark in a way few may never know they are benefiting from and enjoying what he worked to accomplish. He leaves a remarkable legacy.

Jon is survived by his wife, Barbara; mother, Dorothy; daughter, Jola Barnett and spouse Mark of Arlington, WA; daughter Melissa Koulisis of Niceville, FL; daughter Janis Allen and spouse Kevin of Orange Park, FL; daughter Monica Soles and spouse Jason of Pensacola, FL; grandchildren, Jonathan, Adam and Megan Barnett, Allison Byerly, Alexandra and Nicholas Koulisis, Samantha Otis, Abigail and Christopher Allen, Nicholas and Brayden Davis; great granddaughters, Elaina and Evelyn.

He is preceded in death by his father, William; his sister Janis; and brother Craig.

Funeral arrangements will be held 11:00am, April 20, 2022 at St. Charles Catholic church in Burlington. Arrangements are under the care of Lemley Chapel, Sedro Woolley. Donations in lieu of flowers can be made in his memory to the Tri-Parish Food Bank. Share your memories of Jon and sign the online guest register.


  • Anitra Kass

    I really enjoyed getting to know Jon over the years through our common work with the National Trails System and more specifically, National Scenic Trails. I enjoyed talking with him and learned so much. Our public lands and trails system is in a better place because of his hard work and dedication, what an important and amazing legacy.

    May his memory be a blessing and my deepest condolences to his family and friends.

    Anitra-SoCal Pacific Crest Trail Representative

  • Patty IUND Olsen

    Dear Knechtel Family
    Please accept my sympathy & prayers during your loss of Jon.

  • Melinda Brown

    My deepest sympathy to you Barb, your children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and Jon’s mother, you all must be reeling from this unexpected shock, I am so very sorry. You are in my prayers. I will always remember Jon and his tales of the trail, his apple cinnamon whiskey and how much he meant to everyone he met.

  • Lisa & Bob Ryan

    Barb and family, you are all in our thoughts and prayers as you grieve the loss of your beloved Jon. We first met Barb and Jon at a Gonzaga basketball game in Florida in November 2016 and became good friends with these crazy ZAGS fans. Since then we have met up 4 more times either in Vegas or Phoenix to watch Gonzaga basketball games, the last time we saw Jon and Barb was on March 9th when we parted ways at the Vegas Airport. Little did we know that it would be the last time that we would see Jon. I’m so glad for all those times that we all had together, we have so many good memories from all the basketball games that we watched together. We will continue to cheer on our ZAGS and will remember Jon every time we do.

  • Kate Nims

    Barb & Family
    Jon was an extraordinary man. His absence leaves a huge void. The blessing is the many many memories created around and with him.
    My heartfelt sympathy and love to your family.

  • Lynn M Handy

    Dear Barbara, I was so sorry to hear of Jon’s passing, I had just seen you both at church not long ago. I was unable to attend the service, but please know I send the deepest condolences for you and the family, and will keep you all in prayer. Jon had a great smile, such a nice man and very giving. Sending love and sympathy to you. I will make a donation to the food bank in his memory. I am at your service. Lynn Handy

  • Donnie Ruyle

    I worked with Jon at Goodyear Nelson Hardwood Lumber Co. in Sedro-Woolley, WA. Until I retired in 1994. Sorry to hear about Jon. May God be be with his family at this time. I didn’t see the obituary until to late to be at the service.

  • Susan Trout

    Jon was a true friend with a generous heart. I will miss his wit and hugs. Love to sweet Barb and the girls.

  • Heidi whaley

    I can’t begin to say how much he will be missed. Mom my heart goes out to you. All the girls I can’t even imagine losing my dad. I just know every time I came up to see you guys he would think oh god she’s here again there goes his quiet time. But he always put up with me. My heart breaks for you guys. You’ll be so sadly missed but never forgotten

  • Linda Buchanan

    Sending hugs and prayers to you, Barb, and to your family. Jon was so proud of his family. Keep the happy memories close to your hearts for comfort. They will bring a smile in time.


    Jon was a great man. Such a driving force behind the PNW Trail. He was a great family man. He will be missed.

  • Joan Edson

    Prayers for Barb and family For your Loss my heart breaks for you all I am going to miss Jon and all are conversations he always called and said this is Mr Knechtel RIP Jon

  • Gregory P Vergari

    I loved John, he was as close as a brother and shared his dad, Bill, with me. Keri and I offer our love and prayers for your comfort and peace as you celebrate John’s life and accomplishments. He often shared excellent advice and examples for me although I often didn’t follow it. 😉

    We are very sorry we can’t be with you and send our love to you all.

    Greg and Keri Vergari
    Council, ID