Knouff, Mary Jo

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Mary Jo Knouff died at the age of 95 on Thursday, April 15, 2021 at her home in Blacksburg, Virginia, comforted by her husband and grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents, L.C. and Bircie McCommack Thompson; her sister, Mildred Thompson; and her son, Mark Janey. She is survived by her husband of 47 years, George Knouff; her stepchildren, Jerry Knouff (Heidi) and Kathy Knouff Barley (David); her grandchildren, Lauren Janey Jones (David), Claiborne T. Janey (Christie), Morgan Janey McGee (Dustin), Jay Knouff, Tessa Knouff Surber (Greg), Scott Levinson, and Alec Levinson; and seven great-grandchildren.

Mrs. Knouff was born in Mullins, West Virginia in 1925 to Luther and Bircie Thompson. She graduated from Concord College in 1948 and later worked as a teacher in Montana; it was there that she learned to fly and turned a love of flying into a career that took her to a distinguished position in the Federal Aviation Administration in Washington D.C. She developed and implemented a plan for Aviation Education in secondary schools that eventually led to her receiving the Frank G. Brewer Award for Excellence in Aviation Education. In her capacity with the FAA, Mary Jo spearheaded many workshops and seminars on her specialty, culminating in leading a delegation to Moscow, Russia to promote Aviation Education. This was her 50th year as a member of the Ninety-Nines, an organization of women pilots.

Mary Jo was a beloved wife, mother, and grandmother and a member of Blacksburg Christian Fellowship. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to Blacksburg Christian Fellowship or to the Warm Hearth Foundation.

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