October 2016




ASCRS mourns death of past president

by Liz Hillman EyeWorld Staff Writer


“He loved people and wanted to know everything about everyone. I don’t know anyone else left in this world who could possibly be as happy as Guy Knolle was all the time.” –Robert Watson


Guy E. Knolle Jr., MD

Guy E. Knolle Jr., MD, remembered for direct yet good-humored demeanor

Long-time ASCRS member and past president Guy E. Knolle Jr., MD, Lakeway, Texas, died August 30, 2016, at 80 years old.

“Guy was a true friend and will be missed by all who were fortunate enough to know him,” said David Karcher, ASCRS executive director. “Guy cherished his wife, Sue Ellen. Individually they were very special in their own way; together they instilled happiness in everyone they came into contact with.” Dr. Knolle practiced with his wife, Sue Ellen Young Knolle, MD, for his last 11 professional years before their retirement in 2008, according to his obituary published in the Houston Chronicle. The newspaper reported that Dr. Knolle studied pre-med at the University of Texas, Austin, and then attended Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, graduating in 1962. He went on to hold an internship and glaucoma fellowship at Barnes Hospital Group, St. Louis. He then completed an ophthalmology residency at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston. According to the obituary, Dr. Knolle also served as an ophthalmologist and captain at the Ireland Army Hospital, Fort Knox, Kentucky, for 2 years, after which time he joined his father’s Houston ophthalmology practice. Dr. Knolle was among the early adopters of phacoemulsification in the 1970s, and he went on to create his own intraocular lens design as well as other instruments.

“I knew Guy first as an ophthalmologist customer … for about 5 hours,” said Robert Watson, owner of the Houston-based company Patient Education Concepts, which provides marketing and education services for the ophthalmic industry. “He hired me to make him a custom video for his Houston practice. By the end of the shoot, I knew him as a good friend.” Mr. Watson said as a result of their friendship and trust, he later sent his own mother and father to Dr. Knolle for cataract surgery. “Anyone who ever spent time in the operating room with him will remember his signature saying at the end of every procedure: ‘APC’ he would proclaim with a smile on his face and his thumb pointing to the ceiling—another perfect case,” Mr. Watson recalled.

“When it was time for Guy to have his cataracts removed, he asked Bruce Wallace, [MD, Alexandria, Louisiana] to implant the Array Multifocal [Abbott Medical Optics, Abbott Park, Illinois]. He flew his Bonanza over to Houston to pick me and my videographer up so we could document his procedure,” Mr. Watson said. “The evening after his procedure we went for a boat ride, then out for dinner and drinks, finally getting to bed after midnight. Guy was up at dawn rounding us all up for a 3-mile walk through the woods. After his postop exam at 9:00 a.m., we headed back to his airplane, which I think he could have flown blindfolded. Guy loved his Array lenses from the moment they were implanted, and he was probably their most prolific implanter.” Dr. Knolle served as ASCRS president from 1989 to 1991. John Hunkeler, MD, Hunkeler Eye Institute, Overland Park, Kansas, said Dr. Knolle stepped into the position at an important time for the society. “His leadership of ASCRS came at a time of significant growth in the membership and importance that ASCRS has achieved in bringing the U.S. and the rest of the world to benefit from improving technologies in cataract and refractive surgery through the meetings and publications,” Dr. Hunkeler said.

Dr. Hunkeler and Mr. Watson both described Dr. Knolle as direct but in the friendliest way possible. “Once Guy had made up his mind about a subject, he was impossible to be moved from his position on the matter,” Dr. Hunkeler said. “He would end the conversation the same way each time from my personal experience: ‘I hear what you’re saying, but here’s what we are gonna do!’ That was usually accompanied by a generous, warm smile, but I would get the message. I will miss him.” Mr. Watson said he will miss his monthly, hour-long phone calls with Dr. Knolle. “I always felt like I was talking to my father, my psychologist, my ophthalmologist, my life coach, as well as my best friend,” Mr. Watson said. “He loved people and wanted to know everything about everyone. I don’t know anyone else left in this world who could possibly be as happy as Guy Knolle was all the time. I was truly blessed to have him in my life.” According to his obituary published in the Houston Chronicle, Dr. Knolle is survived by his wife, his three children and their families, and his brother and sister-in-law.

ASCRS mourns death of past president ASCRS mourns death of past president
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