Charles Allen Knowles

Charles Allen Knowles
Shelby Shores

Charles Allen Knowles, age 93, of Shelby Shores, passed away Thursday, Jan. 2.

The visitation will be from 9:30-11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 6 at First Baptist Church of Columbiana. The funeral service will follow at 11 a.m. at the church with Dr. Mike Miller officiating. Burial will follow at the Alabama National Cemetery. Bolton Funeral Home is directing.

He was born on Nov. 15, 1926 in Birmingham to Sam and Adelaide Knowles. He grew up in Spring Creek, a farming community in Shelby County where he attended Calera High School. On May 10, 1943 he enlisted in the Army Reserve at the age of 17. Upon his graduation in 1944 he was assigned to the United States Army Specialist Training Reserve Program and remained in training until his Army discharge on March 7, 1947. He then enrolled in Alabama Polytechnic Institute, now known as Auburn University. He graduated in 1949 and went to work teaching Vocational Agriculture in Manchester, Tennessee.

He began his educational service in Shelby County as a vocational agriculture teacher at Thompson High School in 1951, and was named principal there in 1967.

During this time, he also became a charter member of the first Army National Guard Unit in Shelby County, remaining active in the Guard until 1986 when he retired as a Full Colonel.

In 1971, he became the first director of the Shelby County Area Vocational Center in Columbiana where he developed initial programming and curriculum for what is now the College and Career Center that still trains students for the growing workforce of Shelby County.

In 1978 he was elected as Shelby County’s School Superintendent, during what many believe was one of the most critical periods in the county’s history. Shelby County was experiencing a significant growth in population from 38,298 in 1970 to 66,298 in 1980.

Based on his experiences as a strategic and logistics planner in the National Guard, Knowles provided the leadership to restructure the inner workings of the school system. During his one term, he built the bridge from the old to the new way of doing the business of schools. He retired from public education following his term in office.

Mr. Knowles is preceded in death by his son, Charles Douglas Knowles; and brother, Lewis Raymond Knowles.

He is survived by his loving wife, Carolyn Barton Knowles; daughters, Melissa K. Nannini (Alan) and Amy Jo Roberts (Lindsey); stepson, Joe Davidson; grandchildren, Joseph and Margaret Davidson, Laura Barlow (Kevin), and Anna Nannini; and great grandsons, Al and Louis Barlow.

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