Appreciation: Richmond Highway Corridor champion Dick Knapp
Original story from July 6 reposted July 13 due to accidental deletion
The Richmond Highway Corridor community lost one of its key advocates recently with the June 25 passing of Richard (Dick) Knapp.
Knapp, a retired Army colonel and government contractor who resided for decades in the Pinewood Lakes community, was heavily involved in church and community activities. According to his obituary, he was an active parishioner and leader at Saint Louis Catholic Church, chaired the Pinewood Lake Marketing Committee for two decades and was a member of the board of the Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation (SFDC) for a dozen years, chairing its Marketing, Planning and Transportation Committee since 2014. He also served on the Original Mount Vernon High School Reutilization Task Force and Steering Committee, co-chaired the Richmond Highway Embark Advisory Group and in 2017 was awarded the honor of “Lord Fairfax” for Lee (now Franconia) District.
Knapp’s longtime friend, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Jeff McKay, said Knapp was a community steward and very enthusiastic supporter of the Richmond Highway Corridor.
“He had a sense of humor and was guided by his faith to always serve,” said McKay. “He was a friend of mine, and he will be greatly missed.”
SFDC Board President Mark Viani described Knapp as a well-established community leader and steadying influence who helped bring clarity and focus to debates involving complex topics, ensuring all voices were heard and focusing on what was best for the community.
“We all really enjoyed working with him, and he will be missed greatly,” said Viani. “He leaves behind an impressive legacy of service to the country and the community.”
According to SFDC Executive Director Evan Kaufman, Knapp’s attention to detail was an asset to his involvement in SFDC’s work to improve the corridor for economic development. Knapp, who was focused on the aesthetics of Richmond Highway, planned and implemented SFDC’s biannual landscaping tour of the highway and was knowledgeable about all the corridor’s trees, plants and shrubs. He also brought his legendary sense of humor to board meetings and projects, making everyone feel at ease.
Roger Reutershan, another longtime friend of Knapp's who worked closely with him on the SFDC board and at Pinewood Lake, recalled how they together routinely reviewed the traffic islands, flower beds and sides of the road along Route 1. When some trees in front of Beacon Center were not being well cared for, the men notified Fairfax County officials, and the county took over maintaining the parcel. Knapp also had an impressive knowledge of many topics, said Reutershan, and a knack for taking charge and getting things done without making enemies.
"We lost an incredibly talented leader in our work on Route 1," Reutershan said.
Kaufmann said he plans to confer with Viani about ways to memorialize Knapp.
“We’re going to ensure that the corridor looks as good as possible to continue his legacy,” said Kaufmann.