Saint John High School

Dennis R. Knibb, 1927-2016 "A Life Worthwhile"

Friday, November 25, 2016


Dennis Knibb, Retirement in 1992

The family and friends of Dennis R. Knibb are saddened to report his death at Saint John, N.B. on 24 November, 2016 following a period of failing health.

There will be no public funeral but a celebration of Dennis Knibb's life was held in the Dennis R. Knibb Auditorium at Saint John High School on Wednesday Nov 30th at 4:30 pm. For those who could not attend the Celebration of Life for Mr. Dennis Knibb in person, a live stream was recorded and is available to view at the following link: https://youtu.be/-8DeRBBgruw?t=24m6s

Donations may be made to the following registered charities: The Dennis Knibb Scholarship Fund or the SJHS Alumni Association c/o Saint John High School, 170 Prince William St. Saint John, NB E2B 2B7 or the Church of the Good Shepherd, 688 Manawagonish Road, Saint John, NB E2M 7R5.

Arrangements are under the care and direction of Brenan’s Funeral Home (details here), 111 Paradise Row, Saint John, NB (634-7424).


Continue to the SJHS web site, or continue reading below.

Dennis Roger was born in Derby, England on 31 July 1927, the son of E. Harold and Nora Winifred (Goodall) Knibb. He received his early edu­cation at The Judd School, Tonbridge, Kent from which he won an open scho­larship to Keble College, Oxford.

Dennis Knibb interrupted his education from 1945-48 to serve with the Royal Navy and achieved the rank of Sub-lieutenant. His service included the HMS. King Alfred and on HMS Circe which swept mines in the North Sea. He was decorated for his action while engaged on dangerous service. Dennis Knibb continued his military interests serving in the Naval Reserve in British Columbia and Ontario following his emigration to Canada.

University service resumed at Keble College, Oxford, where Knibb studied (read) History completing an Honours Degree followed by a Diploma in Education. He was granted his Masters of Arts by Oxford in 1955. During this time, he travelled extensively in Europe and the British Isles and spent a long period of service in Finland clearing farmland and repairing war damage.

After teaching at the Wintringham Boys Grammar School (later the King Edward VI Grammar School) in Grimbsy, England from 1952-55 Dennis Knibb travelled to Canada for a series of teaching positions. His first assignment was at Shawnigan Lake, Vancouver Island as a History Master. He then accepted posts at Kamsack Collegiate Institute, Kamsack, Saskatch­ewan and at St. Catherines Collegiate, St. Catherines, Ontario where he was Department Head of History. In 1965 Mr. Knibb was appointed Prin­cipal of Saint John High School and took up permanent residence in the city he regarded as the economic engine of New Brunswick.

In the twenty-seven years that Mr. Knibb served as the Principal of Saint John High the community became aware of his tremen­dous dedication and commitment to the school and the students who have been fortunate enough to receive his tutelage and guidance.

From 1965 until his retirement Dennis Knibb pursued a wide variety of professional and community activities. Within his profession, he was active in curriculum development in History and instrumental in the development of both the Geography curriculum and the implementation of Canadian History at the grade 12 level. He lent his support to the development of the International Baccalaureate program in 1986-87. Most importantly, he encouraged and allowed his teaching staff to become curriculum innovators and gave them the freedom to lead change even knowing that sometimes, they might fail. Dennis Knibb kept students at the centre of his educational beliefs and practice and always knew that every graduate would make a worthwhile citizen.

In the community, he was elected to Saint John Common Council serving from the late 1970's until the mid 1990's. He was intensely interested in the economic development of the community and served on Council committees dealing with taxi by-laws, negotiated water rates with major industries, city pension funds and negotiations with various branches of civic unions. Dennis Knibb has held active memberships in the St. George's Society, Probus (a service club for retired executives and professionals), the New Brunswick Historical Society, the Saint John Board of Trade and, because of his military service and historical interests, a member of the United Services Institute. Dennis Knibb was an active member of the Church of the Good Shepherd, the Retired Teachers Association and, perhaps recently, best known as the unofficial town crier. For his long-standing service and commitment to the Saint John community, the Rotary Club made him a Paul Harris Fellow in 1992 on their 75th anniversary. When not busy in retirement pursuing all these interests Dennis remained an active dog owner, a vigorous although speedy gardener and a wide and scholarly reader.

For the Saint John High School community, Dennis Knibb remained a touchstone for graduates over the last 50 years. In his capacity, as founding member of SJHS Alumni Association and its Secretary, he has been responsible for gathering the content for each annual newsletter from 1982 until the present. Additionally, Dennis Knibb has maintained the Alumni mailing list carefully updating each year. When Alumni donate to the school, each donation is acknowledged with a hand-written note. This personal attention has caused the Alumni to grow and flourish.

Dennis Knibb retired from teaching and as Principal of Saint John High School in 1992. A formal dinner was held at that time and attended by over 500 people at the Saint John Trade & Convention Centre to honour Mr. Knibb and his accomplishments for his 27 years of accomplishments at Saint John High School. "This evening is not really my style. . . it should be a celebration of school and the glory of education." said a modest Dennis Knibb. Despite what he may have felt about the evening it proved to be a remarkable event, filled with presentations, memories and a lot of laughter! In Mr. Knibb's closing remarks he stated. "I have done no more than all the others." But indeed, he did and his legacy will continue to long into the future. Dennis Knibb lived a “life worthwhile”.

Dennis Knibb is survived by his sister, Joyce Campbell of Hastings, New Zealand and her daughter, his brother Derek Knibb (Sheila) of Tonbridge, Kent, England and cousins Wendy Kendall and Angela Standing. He also survived by Jamie Moffatt, a young man Dennis Knibb regarded as a son and his wife Jennifer and their daughter Taylor, of course, his loving dog “Daisy”.

See Also

Media Reports

Continue to the SJHS Web Site


SJHS Twitter Feed