Knoll died at
“Today we mourn the passing of one of the strongest, most dedicated public servants in
Knoll was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer in July 2008 and began radiation and chemotherapy treatments. She returned for the start of the fall Senate schedule in September, but showed signs of fatigue and on Sept. 22 announced she would heed the advice of doctors, family members and colleagues and take time off.
“Even as she fought cancer in recent months, she remained upbeat and dedicated to serving the commonwealth,” Rendell said. “Catherine was a very passionate and exuberant advocate for many worthy causes. Her passing is a tremendous loss for the many people whose lives she touched.”
A former schoolteacher and Democratic veteran, Knoll served two terms as state treasurer beginning in 1988. When she won re-election in 1992, she received one of the largest vote totals ever for a statewide Democratic candidate.
“I happen to think that
As lieutenant governor, she presided over the state Senate and chaired the state Board of Pardons and a local government advisory committee. Rendell also asked her to serve as chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Council.
Knoll was born in Sept. 3, 1930. Her father, Nicholas Baker, was the mayor of McKees Rocks, a
She met her husband, Charles Knoll, while she was a student and married him just before graduating.
She worked for local Democratic candidates, became a member of the party’s state committee and started working for PennDOT in the early 1970s.
In 1976, the party asked her to run for state treasurer. She lost to Robert E. Casey, a
She ran for treasurer again in 1984, losing in the primary by fewer than 15,000 votes.
She pledged to never run for office again, but changed her mind when her husband, a postmaster, died in 1987. All four of their children encouraged her to do so.
Knoll, affectionately known as CBK, won handily and pledged to clean up a treasurer’s office that she said was a mess. She said she was proud the agency provided $25 million in loans to small businesses through development centers at colleges and universities, as well as $100 million in low-rate first-home mortgages to single parents, first-time buyers and veterans. She also oversaw the startup of a college savings program for parents.