Memorial Tribute – Rev. Fred P. Knieriem

October 26, 1924 – May 13, 2013

Fred Knieriem 2009 0-smallFour years ago on Sunday, November 8, 2009 at its morning worship service The Presbyterian Church of Catasauqua recognized 60 years of ordination of The Rev. Fred Knieriem as a Minister of Word and Sacrament.  It was a great day.  Representatives at the anniversary celebration came and spoke on his behalf.  Following the service Fred reflected on everything that had been said at the service and thought it was like being at one’s own memorial service except that the honoree was present in body, mind, and spirit.

Fred was born and raised in Tamaqua, PA.  He graduated from Ursinus College (AB-1945), Lancaster Theological Seminary (BD-1947), and Harvard Divinity School (STM-1949).  He was ordained in his home church, Trinity Evangelical & Reformed Church in Tamaqua, PA on November 20, 1949.  His first charge was Christ E. & R. Church in Allentown where he was installed on November 27, 1949.

When Fred left Allentown in 1951, he served in a myriad of positions.  He moved to South Bend, Indiana, where he served as the Assistant Pastor at Zion E. & R. Church.  He then moved to State College, PA where he served as the Minister to Students for the E. & R. and Congregational Churches at Penn State College.  His next position was Executive Secretary for the Student Christian Movement of Queens and Nassau Counties on Long Island, NY.  While there he did graduate studies (1953-1956) at Union Theological Seminary, New York, NY.

In 1956, he became the Director of Christian Education at South Presbyterian Church in Dobbs Ferry, NY and remained part of the Presbyterian denomination ever since.  His next move was to pastor at the First Presbyterian Church of Marlborough, NY.  He subsequently became the Pastor at the Gilead Presbyterian Church in Carmel, NY where he served for 28 years before retiring on August 31, 1991.

Upon retirement he moved back to the Lehigh Valley and was involved in the life of Lehigh Presbytery always speaking passionately about issues of great concern for him on the floor of Presbytery.  His greatest enjoyment came from taking as many courses as possible at the Moravian Theological Seminary; truly a lifelong learner.

If you were to ask him the best thing that ever happened to him he would surely speak of the sovereign call of God upon his life.  But soon thereafter he would be sure to say that marrying into the Wasser family was divinely led and inspired.  When serving at the Christ Evangelical and Reformed Church on Second Street in Allentown he took his meals at the Wasser home nearby, also members of that church.  This led to his courtship and then marriage to Dolores Martha Wasser, one of the five daughters and one son of Louis and Elsie Wasser.  Dolores’ death took place just seven months before his retirement while still serving the church in Carmel, New York.

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