June 27, 2014 at 11:01 pm

Barney Knorp: Former Livonia fire chief 'sacrificed a lot' for his children

Mr. Knorp )

Known for his sense of humor and big smile, Barney Shea Knorp used those attributes serving in the Army in World War II and during his 45-year career with the Detroit and Livonia fire departments.

“He had a quick temper, but he’d get over it quick and you’d be friends again,” said son John Knorp. “It was a shoot-from-the-hip kind of thing. It’s probably what got him through the war.”

Mr. Knorp, a former Livonia fire chief and Detroit Fire Department battalion chief, died Wednesday, June 25, 2014, after a long illness. He was 91.

Mr. Knorp was born Aug. 23, 1922, in Kansas City, Missouri. He moved with his family to Detroit at age 14.

He graduated from Clawson High School in 1938 at 16. He worked and attended what is now known as Lawrence Technological University until he enlisted in the Army.

In 1943, Mr. Knorp married Marjorie Jean Bishop, his high school sweetheart, while waiting to be shipped overseas. The union lasted 67 years until her death in 2010.

Mr. Knorp landed at Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944 — D-Day — and fought in the Rhineland, Battle of the Bulge and Central Europe campaigns. He was honorably discharged as a captain in March 1946. His commendations included the Purple Heart and Silver Star.

After returning from the Army, Mr. Knorp worked a managerial job at Dodge.

“He couldn’t keep that job because it wasn’t active enough for him,” John Knorp said.

Mr. Knorp joined the Detroit Fire Department and worked his way up to battalion chief during his 35-year career. He also served in the Army Reserves, where he reached the rank of lieutenant colonel.

“Everybody looked up to my dad,” John Knorp said. “He advanced quickly through the ranks. He was a very intelligent guy.”

Mr. Knorp worked a second job while at the Detroit Fire Department, painting and decorating so he could afford to send his 10 children to Catholic school, his son said.

“He sacrificed a lot of things for the kids,” his son said.

Mr. Knorp joined the Livonia Fire Department in 1983 and served as its chief for more than 10 years before retiring in 1994.

He enjoyed bowling, golf and team sports, John Knorp said. He also enjoyed summer vacations with his family on Lake St. Clair.

Survivors include six other sons, James, Joseph, Jerald, Barney, Martin and Christoper; three daughters, Kathleen, Brenda and Janet; 40 grandchildren; 17 great grandchildren; and one great-great grandchild.

A Mass is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Priscilla Catholic Church, 19120 Purlingbrook, Livonia.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to VFW Foundation, 406 W. 34th St #514 Kansas City, MO 64111, or a local VFW post.

cwilliams@detroitnews.com
(313) 222-2311

Mr. Knorp )