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James Knytych

07/17/1935 - 07/27/2020

James Knytych of Gilbert, Arizona; passed away July 27, 2020 at the age of 85.  He was born on July 17, 1935 to James G. Knytych and Mary Loyek in Chicago, Illinois.  He graduated from Calumet High School in Chicago in 1953.  James lived in Oak Lawn, Illinois until he was drafted into the army at the age of 18 following his twin brother Joseph.  After his service, he received an honorable discharge.  James then started his career working for AT&T/Mountain Bell, and retired from them in the 1980’s.  He would later work for and retire for SRP.

He met his first wife, Dorisjean in Chicago and they had two kids; Greg, their biological child, and Charlotte, whom they adopted as a baby.  The family moved to Arizona in 1967.

James later married his 2nd wife Sandra, for 16 years and adopted her 4 children: Darla Knytych Riding (Dean), Rodney, Jeff and Mark Knytych (Dyana).

James was a very loving, compassionate, smart, successful, and humorous person, who presented a goofy persona at times.  He was loved and respected by anyone that knew him.  James was the adventurous type, who enjoyed the outdoors.  He also enjoyed reading and building a wide range of projects for his family and friends.

After retiring, he began his next adventure and purchased a 1972 Piper Cherokee plane, which he later refurbished.  He made several cross-country trips, including Alaska.  He loved to travel with his sister as a co-pilot on multiple trips.  He shared his love of flying with other family members, including his grandchildren. 

He is survived by his sister Rosalie Draper; Children: Greg, Darla, Rodney, Jeff and Mark; 20 grandchildren; 14 great grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents (James and Mary), twin brother, Joseph and daughter, Charlotte.

A memorial service in his honor will be privately held at a later date.  In lieu of flowers, or other offerings, please donate to a charitable organization of your choosing in his honor.




  • Mrs Robert Anke Sr. family

    Jim was a very special person to our family. He was a very special friend of my husband. They spent a lot of quality time together. When my husband had his stroke he looked forward to Jim’s visits every other week. He was here for our family when my husband passed away 2 years ago. Rest in peace Jim. You will be missed by all who was fortunate to have met you. Love the Robert Anke Sr. family

  • Jim was a very special person , Rest In Peace Jim! You will be missed by all of our family and children.

  • Oh Uncle Jim, I can’t believe you aren’t with us anymore. You will be so missed. It will be so hard to not see you at holidays and game nights. In all the years since moving here, I’ve never not seen you without a smile. When I went flying with you I never felt unsafe. I will forever remember you and family times together. RIP UJ. Love Bobbi

  • Uncle Jim will be greatly missed he was a great man and always there if you needed him he will definitely leave a huge hole in this family game nights will never be the same without you 😢Rest in peace Uncle Jim

  • Jim was a sweet caring gentleman, always eager to explore and learn new things. He had a big heart and smile. So many are going to miss him deeply. Rest well Jim. ..Nancy Draper 2020

  • Kristen Fedrizzi

    I’m sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you. I’m Haydens Aunt Kris.

  • Uncle Jim we are still so shocked your no longer with us. We will absolutely miss you the most on our game nights. Your laugh was so contagious. Even though I was scared to death flying you made it fun and I forgot my fear. Rest In Peace and know we all love you and miss you…Love Janet

  • I was so saddened to see this. I worked side by side with Jim at Salt River Project from his hire until his retirement. We met for lunch several times after that before we lost touch. He was a good friend with a great personality and I will miss him.

  • Jeffery David Knytych

    What an amazing Dad you have been! So many examples of what hard work, honesty, integrity, perserverance, and constancy looks like in a life well lived. You are the most popular and likeable person I have ever met. You have been such a friend for a long time for me…a great help with Hayden and always there for us. I waited a year to write something…what do you say about somebody so special and who’s life was so consequential. Well, one year later…I say you gave me and many others the template about how to be a good person, a good citizen, a good friend, a good father, a good grandfather, a good sibling, a good neighbor. We miss you every day….oh and…I am not sure you would have survived the election of 2020!

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