Richard “Dick” Knoebel



The Distinguished Alumnus Award was established to honor a former graduate of Southern Columbia or any high school that formed Southern Columbia Area School District, who has achieved success in their field of endeavor and has had a positive influence on the community of Southern Columbia. 


Thousands of students have graduated, but the selection of the initial Distinguished Alumnus was an easy one, and a unanimous choice of the committee.


Richard “Dick” Knoebel was valedictorian of his class in 1957.  Immediately after high school, he attended Lehigh University graduating with a B.S. degree in Engineering Geophysics in 1961. 


He entered the U.S. Marine Corps in March 1962 and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant. 


After active duty, Dick returned to civilian life in 1965 working at Knoebels Grove, and in 1988 was elected President of H. H. Knoebel Sons, Inc., which includes Knoebels Amusement Resort and Knoebel Lumber.  Since 1965, Knoebels has more than doubled in size and has become the largest free admission, free parking amusement park in the United States.


Dick is an active member of the Elysburg Presbyterian Church, the Ralpho Township Business Association, a charter member of the Susquehanna Personnel Management Club, past president of Susquehanna Valley Industrial Management Club, and served on the Board of Shamokin Area Industrial Corporation.  He has long been associated with the Pennsylvania Amusement Parks Association and served two years as president and is presently Secretary/Treasurer. 


In 1966, Dick was appointed to the Board of Trustees of Sunbury community Hospital, and in 2001 was awarded with the Distinguished Citizen Award by the Susquehanna Council of the Boy Scouts of America.


He was married to the late Barbara Cook, and has two sons, Rick and Brian.