John Knox

John P Knox

February 7, 1945 - May 13, 2020
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CHELMSFORD – John Paul Knox, 75, a longtime resident of Chelmsford, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, May 13, 2020 at Lowell General Hospital after a period of declining health. He was the beloved husband of Irene B. (Cooke) Knox with whom he has enjoyed 53 years of marriage.

He was born in Lowell on February 7, 1945 and was a son of the late William A. and Elsie Althea (Spaulding) Knox.

John was a graduate of Chelmsford High School with the class of 1964. Following high school, he served for six years in the United States Navy. During his active duty, he spent time on the USS Saratoga in the Mediterranean Sea during the Vietnam War era followed by four years in the Naval Reserve. He later spent five additional years serving in the Army Reserve.

John was employed as a machinist for many years, working at Nuclear Metals in Concord, Stevken Manufacturing in Billerica and Carlisle Screw Company. He also worked as a Security Guard for many years. He was a member of the Lowell Sportsman’s Club and served as a Range Safety Officer for the NRA. John was a member of The Harmonatones harmonica group at the Chelmsford Senior Center, where they traveled to local nursing homes to play music for them. He loved his many hobbies, which included complex model boat building, detailed and/or intricate puzzles and coloring, playing the keyboard and using electronics of all kinds, some of which required assembly of varying degrees of difficulty. He loved to make things with his hands. John was a faithful parishioner at St. Mary Parish in Chelmsford.

In addition to his loving wife, John leaves his children; Laura A. Mayotte and her husband, Robert of Chelmsford, Julie E. German and her husband Donald of Haverhill, Jonathan P. Knox and his wife, Kara Knox of Lowell, Susan M. Knox and her fiancé, Martin Cormier of Lowell, and Sarah M. Knox and her partner, Scott Giguere of Pelham, NH, and his cherished grandchildren; Anthony and Robert Veseskis and Alina Cormier, Joseph and Joshua Thomas, Harrison and Rose Mayotte, and Felicia, Michelle and Daniel Valladares and Jonathan and Sean Knox. He also leaves a mother-in-law, Irene B. Cooke of North Chelmsford, sister-in-law, Elizabeth J. Ryan and her husband Brad of Billerica, brothers-in-law; Nelson H. Cooke and his wife, Julianna of CA, David S. Cooke and his wife, Lillian of WA, and Philip R. Cooke and his wife, Tracy of NC, and several nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends, including his cousin Tracy Solomon and family in FL, and his best friend, Mike Corricelli and his wife Sandy of Tewksbury.

He was also the brother of the late Karen L. (Knox) Lessieur.

A Funeral Mass will be scheduled at a future date when the current restrictions are lifted.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the St. Vincent de Paul Society and mailed to Chelmsford Catholic Collaborative, 115 Middlesex Street, N. Chelmsford, MA 01863. Please note in the memo line if your donation is for St. Mary Parish or St. John Parish.

Here are some words by John’s oldest daughter, Laura Mayotte:

When I think of my dad, the first thing that always comes to mind is how much fun we had growing up. He loved the outdoors, and taught all of us how to swim and ride bikes. He’d play in the sand with us at the beach, or at home in the yard. We’d go to all kinds of parks, where he never seemed to tire of pushing us on swings, or balancing the other end of the teeter totter if one kid was heavier than the other. It was always a treat when the Ice Cream Man drove up, because he always let us get a popsicle! The amusement park was our favorite, and we went every year for many years. In the winter we’d go sledding and skating. He loved the holidays, especially Christmas! If he could have been the real Santa Clause, I think he would have. But every holiday was cause for celebration, and lots of cooking, whether indoors for Thanksgiving, or outdoors on July 4th. As we all grew older, things changed and we needed rides to friends’ houses and first jobs. Even after working long hours like he always did, he was always there when we needed him. Later on, he took some of us car shopping, danced with us at our weddings, and became the most devoted grandfather you could ever imagine, where it was such a pleasure to see him doing the same things he did with us when we were young. He had endless energy for so many years it seemed, and we were very lucky to have him as long as we did. He had such a generous spirit. We all loved him very much and will miss him greatly, and are glad to have so many wonderful memories of the full life he led.

And here are some words by John’s middle child, his only son, Jonathan Knox:

I thought I was prepared for this day. For many years, we all knew it could happen at any moment, as it turns out, I’m not prepared. On one hand, I feel blessed that I had my father for an additional 25 years after his major heart attack at 50. On the other hand, I feel deprived of all the joys I feel entitled to. There’s so much more that I wanted to do with my dad, so many missed opportunities, and so many unsaid words. My dad was the best man I’ve ever known, I wish I was half the man he was. He may not have accumulated great wealth or notable achievements, but he did accumulate great love from all his children and grandchildren and stayed happily married for 53 years. I guess I will feel pretty blessed if I can say that when my time comes. He will be greatly missed and never forgotten.
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Service Details

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at a future date.


  • American
  • Army Reserves
  • US Navy Reserve
  • US Navy


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Private Condolence

Catherine Haubner

Posted at 12:38pm
I was profoundly saddened when I learned of John's death. I used to see he and Irene at the 11am at St Mary's. I had the privilege of getting to know John and Irene after he joined our Communion group, many years ago. I remember arriving Chelmsford Arms and seeing this really impressive wooden model. John was so proud it. We can learn from a lot from him. Take pride in our accomplishments, great and small. Recognize the happy moments, even when life is hard. Have faith and trust. He was man with a big heart, a ready smile and brave spirit. My thoughts and prayers are with Irene, the entire family, especially their grandchildren Rest in Peace, John...

David Hedison

Posted at 07:20am
A kind gentle soul that was a gift to have at Chelmsford Arms and in the community. He was always working on a project near the community building - always had a nice word to say. When I saw this notice, it really made me sad to think that the world lost a truly good kind person. To his family I send my deepest condolences - he made this world a better place and will be remembered for that. Rest in peace John - you made a difference.

Mary DePasquale

Posted at 10:29pm
When my husband Doug and I moved to Chelmsford Arms, John was the first person we met. He was in our common room and he was just so friendly and nice that I knew we would love it here. We do. And John and Irene are two of the reasons why. The DePasquale/Smith's have been privileged to know this wonderful man.

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