Ron was born in Berrien Springs, Michigan April 13, 1939 and passed away at home with his loving family June 8, 2019. He moved to Oregon after his father passed away when he was 4 years old. Growing up in North Bend, Oregon was good times in his life with all of his friends.
After high school at North Bend High, he met and married Connie Tedford in November 1959.
Living in North Bend/Coos Bay for the first five years of their marriage, Ron explored various employments, but his interest in Drag Racing became his dominant interest and passion. He stared his racing on a 150 Honda at the old air strip in Langlois, Oregon. He graduated to a 305 Honda Hawk and traveled to various strips around the Northwest and as consequence to his success, made a name for himself. One Sunday in January 1964 Yamaha International called him from Portland, Oregon. They had lost their District Sales Manager and in discussing the opportunity, Ron's name was brought up.
They called and asked him to take over the sales territory of Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Northern California. After working the territory for a year, he did so well that they wanted him to take over Southern California, Las Vegas, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas, in 1965. He packed up his family and moved to West Covina, California in January 1965
In parallel, Ron's racing got even bigger as he had more tracks to which to travel and was setting records. He retired from racing after 27 years with 11 world records. His 350 "Asphalt Shaker" and "Eagle 1" are in a museum in the mid-east. He was the top District Manager in Sales for 17 years until he went to Regional Sales Manager; he had every state west of the Mississippi River with more than 700 dealerships including nine District Sales Managers. For the first time the West out-sold the East.
Before leaving Oregon, Ron had two sons Dean Anthony Knapp and Troy Dewayne Knapp. However, when called to California, Ron pulled up stakes and moved his family to Southern California. Working for Yamaha in the beginning, he helped to set up Yamaha's network of dealers. He loved his job but left it in retirement and he and Connie moved back to their home state of Oregon; to Grants Pass in 1994.
Preceding him in death are his father, Gordon Knapp; mother, Virginia Veden; brother, Virgil; and sons, Dean and Troy.
He is survived by his wife, Connie Knapp; granddaughter, Kandice (and husband, Javier) Ochoa; three grandsons; four sisters; and numerous nieces and nephews.
A celebration of life will be Saturday, June 29, 2019 at 1:00 pm at the Solid Rock Church of Grants Pass, 1832 Dowell Road, Grants Pass OR 97527.