Burton (Burt) W. Kniseley passed away at his home on November 7, 2021. He was the widower of Norma Kochenour Kniseley, to whom he was married for 67 years.
Burt was born on June 26, 1927 in Jefferson County, Pennsylvania. Upon graduation from Grove City High School, he enlisted in the U. S. Coast Guard in order to serve in World War II. After the War, he served as an electronics instructor at the Coast Guard’s Groton, Connecticut facility. In 1947 he gained admission to the U. S. Coast Guard Academy and graduated in 1951. He was proud of his service and attained the rank of Lieutenant before his honorable discharge in 1954.
After the service he was headed to Pittsburgh for a job interview when his father-in-law introduced him to the founders of St Onge, Ruff and Associates, a newly formed consulting engineering firm in York. Burt was excited about the opportunity to work for a small firm where he could have personal impact on the growth and direction of the company and settled in York. He worked for St Onge Ruff and Associates for almost 50 years. He gained international recognition for his work in designing commercial refrigeration plants. His career started at the advent of frozen foods, when the grocery store’s frozen food section consisted of a few small cases of TV dinners and some frozen vegetables. He designed plants all over the world including Colombia, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Sweden, Canada, India and the U. S. He designed refrigeration lines for the production of meats, poultry, beer, ice cream (his favorite engagement), soups, baked goods and vegetables.
Burt’s interests included sailing and gardening. Gardening was a way for him to relax after work. He started with tea roses that he lovingly nurtured and pruned and later expanded into growing annuals from seeds. He’d start his annuals in the basement in late winter using a system of lights, transplant them multiple times and in spring brought them out to plant. He grew as many as 2300 plants a season. To say his garden was vibrant and full of color would be an understatement! After he retired, he took this passion to another level by joining the Penn State Master Gardener Program. He thoroughly enjoyed the education, community service and camaraderie it provided.
Burt was a member of Trinity United Church of Christ for 67 years. He served as a Church Deacon, Elder, Trustee, Consistory President, Trustee Treasurer and Sunday School teacher.
Burt is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Julianne K. Gorte and David B. Gorte, of Houston, Texas, his daughter, Lucy E. Kniseley, of York, and his nephews and niece, R. Keith Kochenour, George T. Kochenour and Molly E. Beach.
A Memorial Service will be held on November 23 at 3pm at Trinity United Church of Christ, 32 West Market Street, York, with his pastor, Dr. Larry Covin, officiating. A reception and visitation with the family will follow the service. Private burial will be in Mt. Rose Cemetery. Kuhner Associates Funeral Directors, Inc., 863 South George Street, York, is in charge of arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the York County Food Bank, 254 W Princess St #3881, York, PA 17401, or the York County Master Gardener Program – Penn State Extension, 2401 Pleasant Valley Road, York, PA 17402 (Checks payable to “PSCE” with Master Gardener on Memo).
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