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Welcome to the memorial page for

Caroline Walker Knowles

May 27, 1938 ~ May 6, 2020 (age 81)


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Pat Knowles, born Caroline Patten Walker, age 81, died on May 6, 20 days short of her 82nd birthday. Known as Pat, and Mimi to her grandchildren, she was born in 1938 to Caroline M. Walker and William B. Walker of Northborough. She attended Northfield School in Northfield, Mass., spent summers as a camp counselor at Camp Marlyn and graduated from Colby College in Maine with a Bachelor of Arts in History. At Colby she met the love of her life, Jonathan “Jock” Knowles after they both lost the class officer elections. After graduation she taught in Northborough Public Schools until her marriage in December of 1960. She and Jock moved to Key West and Washington, D.C. during their early years in the Naval Reserve and then to Seekonk and finally Rehoboth, Jock’s hometown. They propagated out of the Knowles’ family farm house and built their growing family’s current home in 1968.

Pat was integrated into the Rehoboth and Providence, R.I. communities with her volunteer work at Rehoboth polling locations, as a member of the Junior League, Rehoboth Garden Club (former president) and its scholarship committee, Bethany Home board chairwoman for 17 years, and a longtime congregant at St. Martin’s Church where she was previously a member of the altar guild and choir. She was a member of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America and actively involved in the historical site, The Stephen Hopkins House, as treasurer. Her community involvement evolved with her children’s schools and activities such as Lincoln School in Providence, where her daughters attended. She and Jock traveled multiple times to Scotland, her father’s origin, Bermuda and recently, St. Kitt’s with friends.

The couple were actively and philanthropically involved with Colby College, visiting frequently and establishing a scholarship in their late daughter Callie Clapp’s name.

Her friends remember her as a tennis player, golfer, swimmer as a member of Agawam Hunt, a loyal friend and a religious book club attendee. Pat and the family summers in Nonquitt, Mass. and Sunapee, N.H. when the children were young. Later the family regularly gathered at their new “camp” in Freeman Township, Maine.

Pat was previously a substitute teacher for Rehoboth Public Schools and had various retail jobs in the area at R.W. Richins, M’s and Teapots & Tassels, but her primary occupation was that of mother and homemaker. She was the master of logistics, packing her family of six for weekend ski trips in the winter and making picnic baskets for her kids and many others for the beach in summer. She was unflappable, kind, strict, quick-witted, and egregiously terrible with technology. She did not entertain gossip, but loved to talk about things and ideas, especially when it came to literature. She read at lightning speed and at the time of her passing had hundreds of books on her Kindle, the one technology she was determined to adopt and master.

As a grandmother, Pat was renamed “Mimi” and obliged her grandchildren by project managing hermit crab habitats, blueberry pies and proper table setting technique and bed making. Mimi never forgot a birthday and signed her cards to her clan with a simple, but loving “xoxo.”

Pat was the beloved wife of Jonathan R. Knowles. She was the mother of Jonathan R. Knowles Jr. and wife Laura M. Briggs, Amelia K. Chafee and husband Mark H. Chafee, son-in-law William N. Clapp, and Sarah K. Eisenklam and husband David M. Eisenklam. She is preceded in death by her daughter Caroline K. Clapp. She was the cherished grandmother of Amelia H. Chafee, Walker B. Chafee, Bernard K. Clapp, Caroline S. Clapp, Ainsley A. Clapp, Eleanor C. Eisenklam, Abigail W. Eisenklam and Jonathan D. Eisenklam. Interment will be private and a service will be held at a later date.

Donations, in lieu of flowers, may be made to: St. Martin’s Church, The Caroline “Callie” Knowles Clapp ’89 Memorial Fund at Colby College, Bethany Home, the The Callie Knowles Clapp ‘85 Go Global Fund at Lincoln School, and the Rehoboth Garden Club.

Arrangements have been entrusted to J.H. WILLIAMS & CO. FUNERAL HOME.  


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