Obituary of Jack Knox

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Jack Knox

1949 - February 23, 2010

Seacoast Scene, Wednesday, May 12, 2010

[The following article is courtesy of Seacoast Scene
Jack Knox died February 23, 2010 at age 61
The Continentals contributed much towards the fulfillment of Jack's dream -- to be able to pursue his love of singing and entertaining for as long as he lived.

Hampton Beach lost a legend when Jack Knox of The Continentals died suddenly February 23, 2010 at his home in Lowell. He was 61 years old and for many years was the number one headliner on the Hampton Beach Seashell Stage. Come the first Wednesday night in June some thirty to forty well known musicians and their bands will gather at The Ashworth Hotel in an unprecedented musical extravaganza to celebrate Jack's life where he began his Hampton Beach career Over 30 years ago. Paul Wayne, one of the areas premiere comics, will MC the event which begins at 6pm in the Ashworth's Ballroom.

Regular Hampton Beach goers will recognize the line-up of bands volunteering to play at the non-stop musical tribute to Jack including; The John Penny Band, Vic Paul, Rico Jazz Band, The Eastern Sound Orchestra, 60's Invasion and the Continentals. Besides the lavish buffet there will be a complimentary Champagne Toast (provided by an anonymous donor) and a Silent Auction. The entire proceeds will go to the Knox Children Foundation which was created to assist Jack's two young daughters Brianna 12, and Krysta, 11.

Through his music, he loved tradition, families, veterans, young and old alike.


By Maureen Buckley, Former Precinct Commissioner, Hampton Beach Village District.

I first met Jack when I became a Precinct Commissioner in 2005. He presented his agenda at my first meeting, and then proceeded to discuss his new ideas for 2005. Because of the popularity of American Idol, Jack decided that Hampton should begin its own version. He felt that the last week in August was becoming a slow week, and Hampton Idol would help to increase tourism. Of course, he was completely correct, and so began a new Hampton tradition, and a friendship that would grow over the next 5 years. Each year, Jack would have a meeting to select all of the contestants in a private dining area of the Ashworth, and a few of us would listen to hundreds of CDs submitted by Hampton Idol wannabees. It was a 5 hour marathon during which we would become a bit punchy. I will never forget the fun we shared while attempting to choose those contestants Jack also brought the elite Air Force troupe, The Tops in Blue, to the Seashell Stage. The first year, they appeared without incident, and they were, a huge hit with locals and tourists alike. When they were due to return the next summer, their plane was delayed, they were 5 hours late, and they had an accident on their way from Pease. Just when we thought we would be run out of town, they arrived and put on a great show. Although I was nervous about what could happen, I always knew that Jack had my back. He was the consummate friend. It is rare that you meet someone who has the same sense of humor and who reads people the same way that you do. Jack once referred to me as his identical twin sister. I so respected his devotion to family, dedication to his work, and intense loyalty to his friends. I am proud to say that I was one of those friends. The last time I heard from Jack was when he called to wish me a Happy Birthday in January. He was so looking forward to the summer and new events he was planning. He had great ideas for the new constructed area as well. There is such an irony in the fact that the one person who shaped the success of the Seashell summer entertainment will never have the opportunity to perform there. The Precinct has lost an accomplished entertainment director and a popular performer. I have lost a dear friend who will be sorely missed.

By Kathy Maxwell, Group Sales Manager Ashworth Hotel

Jack Knox was the leader of live music to the Ashworth Hotel. He was a big part of the Ashworth Family and will be missed. From performing in the Patriots Lounge to the Ballroom for New Year's Eve, Jack always had a smile on his face and liked to entertain. I remember when I began working with Jack on the New Year's Eve Celebrations at the Ashworth by the Sea. I would tell him the theme of the evening and he would work it into his performance. He had so many fans that would only come to the New Year's Eve celebration if Jack Knox and the Continentals were performing. So many of those fans over the years turned into great friends. He appreciated his fans and they appreciated him. He will missed by the Ashworth Family and the entire Seacoast.

By Brian Warburton, Supervisor of Hampton Beach State Park

I knew Jack Knox for many years. For the past 5 years in my role as Seacoast Parks Superintendent, I worked closely with Jack on entertainment and events on our Seashell Stage at Hampton Beach. Wednesday night fireworks with his patriotic songs brought people to their feet. He truly was a gifted and caring man. Through his music, he loved tradition, families, veterans, young and old alike. Most of all he loved Hampton Beach. As I stand on our beautiful beach and walk around our entertainment complex, I wipe away a tear knowing Jack truly made a difference and impact on my life an many others. He will be missed.

By Don MacNeill, drummer with Jack Knox and The Continentals since the Fall of 1976

Jack came into my life when he walked into a lounge called Ors in Dracut early in the summer of '76, where I was playing in a band with his former cordovox player Jack Lamountain. He may have driven up from the Cape on his night off from his summer gig just to catch up with his old friend from The Continentals, but when he sat in with us, and that first song came to an end, the audience response only reinforced what we had all felt in that first performance — we were meant to be on stage together.

There and then it was decided that we would each complete our summer commitments, but come September when Knox was to move back up from the Cape and start an engagement at the Grotto Cassanelli in Haverhill, the three of us would then be the members of The Continentals.

It wasn't long before our loyal following at the Grotto encouraged us to look into playing at The Ashworth at Hampton Beach, as many of them enjoyed going there in the summer time and thought we'd be a perfect fit. To shorten a long story, that came to be, and all the great things that followed. And when Jack Lamountain retired in '87, it was Jack Knox who knew of a couple of musicians that he felt would fit right in — and he was right again. Enter Jack Coleman on keys and Mike Trolsen on guitar, who since then have been with The Continentals and contributed much towards the fulfillment of Jack's dream — to be able to pursue his love of singing and entertaining for as long as he lived. We should all be so lucky as to have such dreams come true.

When the question "What will The Continentals do now?" came up, it was the loyal following, along with those who have hired us over the years to perform that helped us answer the question. Play on.

With the help of some of Jack's best friends and fellow performers sitting in, that's what we'll do. We are humbled and honored that so many have asked us to continue the traditions that have been established, so we'll strive to perpetuate his memory along with the entertainment philosophy that Jack was instrumental in establishing for The Continentals – put the audience first.

By Jon Mooers, Ashworth employee 1976– 1986.

My first encounter with Jack Knox was in the summer of 1978 at the Patriots Lounge at the Ashworth Hotel, even before it was "By the Sea". The Patriots Lounge was magical—was it the dark blue paint on the ceilings and walls that made it 'the place to be on Hampton Beach'? the red vinyl seats? or maybe Joe Hurley and his dynamic staff? I like to think it was Jack Knox and the Continentals that brought the Patriots Lounge into its heyday. In those early days I was a bar-back and doorman in the lounge. Joe Hurley would station a man on the front entrance to the Patriots lounge to hold the crowds back, as the line of excited guests would always stretch out the door and down the sidewalk. Kenny Bishop and Joe Hurley would whisk through the room monitoring the guests and packing the seats efficiently and completely. A wave of two fingers to the front door and two more excited guests would be allowed into the room. At the other entrance to the lounge, at the rear of the main dining room, the doorman would be asked to visit the diners at their tables where they would reach out their palm and shake your hand and whisper -- "We'd like a nice table up front, by Jack", I'd say- "I'll see what I can do" and as I walked back to the lounge I'd look at the crisp $20 bill the guest had tucked into my palm. Times were good for the employees of the Patriots Lounge in the late '70's, but only because of Jack Knox. Who could forget his bellowing voice bringing you from Broadway with 'Man of La Mancha' or 'Memories' from Cats, to the Disco with 'YMCA'. And of course who could forget those crazy hats and costume changes. Times have been good for Hampton Beach for these past 30 years, because of Jack Knox, he will be missed by all who visit.

He had so many fans that would only come to the New Year's Eve celebration if Jack Knox and "The Continentals" were performing.

By Robert Houle, Marketing Manager, Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce.

If I think hard enough I can probably remember the first night Jack played in the Patriot's Lounge at The Ashworth, because in those days that room was the Hampton Beach version of "Cheers" before there even was a "Cheers". We even had our own "Norm". That would be Norman Grandmaison, the owner, who only a few years earlier officially introduced "demon rum" to Hampton Beach. You have to remember Hampton Beach was "dry" before 1970.

Norman was a big jazz fan and for a while that sound dominated the room. Then one night in 1976 Jack Knox and The Continentals showed up for a gig at the Ashworth and the rest, as they say, is history.

A decade or so later I became involved with promoting Hampton Beach as its Marketing Director. In the meanwhile Jack Knox evolved as "Mr. Hampton Beach" by dint of his talent and personality and musical longevity with The Continentals on the Hampton Beach Seashell Stage. It was a natural to have Jack do the Radio and Television commercials for the Beach, and for many years he did just that with no monetary compensation ... for him it was a labor of love, and for me a lot of fun. I can hear him still singing the jingle; "There's more for your summer at Hampton Beach ... for swimming and funning it's so within reach."

The radio spots are long gone but you can catch a 30 second TV commercial and see for your self how much fun Jack was to work with by visiting and clicking on Photo Gallery.

That's the same web site where you will find every thing else you need to know about the Jack Knox Tribute happening on June 2, 2010 at Ashworth.

Because of the popularity of American Idol, Jack decided that Hampton should begin its own version.

Remembering Our Friend... JACK KNOX (1949-2010)

Hampton Area Tidings, March 2010

Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce Monthly Newsletter

The Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce has lost one of our dearest friends and closest colleagues. Jack Knox was a man with a big talent, an even bigger personality, and a total dedication and devotion to his work, his friends, and his family.

Jack Knox had a record of service to Hampton and Hampton Beach that dated back more than three decades. In 1974 the then owner of the Hampton Beach Casino, John Dineen, approached the lead singer of The Continentals and asked him to fill in on an open night on the Seashell Stage at Hampton Beach. The Continentals made several appearances in the ten years that followed while performing every night in the Patriots Lounge of the Ashworth Hotel. In 1983 The Continentals again filled in open dates at the Seashell Stage. Because of the difficulty in finding a marching band for the annual Children's parade, The Continentals, with the charismatic Jack Knox at the helm, volunteered once again.

The Continentals have played all over the country, including Disneyland in California, Disneyworld in Orlando, Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Detroit, Washington, and Texas.

KW Entertainment, Jack Knox's entertainment company, has been responsible for booking all entertainment at the Seashell Stage and for the Hampton Beach Seafood Festival for years. Each season the Seashell Stage hosts about 80 shows with a complete range of music.

Jack always understood the importance of recognizing major contributors to the entertainment program and took the time to explain to the audience the workings of the Hampton Beach Village Precinct and tirelessly recognized contributors, sponsors, Parks and Recreation staff, and the Chamber of Commerce. In 2008, the Chamber gave a Special Recognition Award to Jack Knox at the Annual Awards Dinner.

The Continentals have been a regular part of the Seashell Stage entertainment since 1988. Jack approached every performance with unmatched enthusiasm and excitement. It is difficult to imagine the upcoming season without him.

The Hampton Area Chamber will always hold a special place of honor in our memories for Jack Knox. We will miss him terribly.

[See also: Hampton Loses Two of its Finest Citizens: Knox, Meyer Die Within Days of Each Other.]

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