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Memorial for Martin D. Knittel

Born in Torrington, Wyoming on Dec. 19, 1932
Departed on Apr. 10, 2018 and resided in Corvallis, Oregon.

He was born in Torrington, WY in 1932. Martin grew up in Salem, OR, and graduated from Salem High School. He attended Willamette University, where he met Marjorie Claire Swanson, who would become his wife of more than 60 years. He graduated in 1955.

He served in the U.S. Army as a medic stateside, which inspired his future career as a microbiologist. After service, he completed an MS (1962) and a PhD (1965) in microbiology at Oregon State University.

His career as a research microbiologist took him to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA and the Environmental Protection Agency via the Pacific Northwest Water Laboratory and Western Fish Toxicology Station in Corvallis, OR.

He published papers in academic journals such as Applied Microbiology and the Journal of Fish Diseases and presented papers at conferences and professional meetings such as the Second Lunar Science Conference and the First Microbiology Seminar on Standardization Methods. His scientific work continues to be cited in studies, including of water treatment and salmonid health.

In 1974, the Knittel family purchased a 14-acre hazelnut farm on Kiger Island in Corvallis, where Martin enjoyed being a part-time farmer. He raised hazelnuts and, later, propagated chestnut saplings. He became certified as a Master Gardener who enjoyed doing horticultural work on the farm after he retired. He also became an accomplished woodworker.

Martin was preceded in death by a daughter, Kay (née Kristin) Marta Knittel, of Philadelphia, PA. He is survived by his wife, Marjorie; daughters Laura Marina Wilson of Corvallis, OR and Janna Marie Knittel of Minneapolis, MN; and two grandchildren.

In lieu of cards or flowers, the family requests that donations in memory of Martin be sent to Senior Dog Rescue of Oregon (

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