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Southlake Style

Keller's First Mayor Dies at 90

Apr 30, 2013 10:20AM ● By tina
City of Keller

A Keller business icon — and the city’s first mayor — died Saturday at the age of 90.

Joseph Robinson Knox was born in his parents’ Keller home on Nov. 28, 1922, the son and nephew of the town’s blacksmiths. He served his country as a corporal in the Army Air Forces during World War II, and returned to Keller ready to continue his family’s proud legacy. 

Once home, Knox and his brother Ross opened the landmark Knox Bros. Motors, Inc., a business that would serve the residents of Keller for nearly 45 years. He also co-owned Pankey’s Auto Supply in Fort Worth; partnered with his son, Tom, in opening two hardware stores in Keller and Roanoke; co-owned the Towne West Shopping Center; helped establish and lead the Keller State Bank for 28 years; and served for decades as a deacon with the Keller Church of Christ, where he attended for more than 50 years. 

Alongside the city’s incorporation in November 1955, Knox was elected as Keller’s first mayor, receiving his oath of office from Sen. Doyle Willis on Jan. 17, 1956. During his three terms as mayor, the city executed important utility franchise agreements, established council practices, approved city protocols, and made important decisions regarding Keller’s lighting, water and sewer systems, roads, public safety initiatives, volunteer fire department and more. He would later serve two additional terms as a city councilman. 

“It’s impossible to measure the legacy of Joe Knox and the city’s other early leaders; every decision they made, every relationship they forged, helped guide us to where we are today,” Mayor Pat McGrail said. “And someone like Joe, whose influence also spread into the city’s business and faith communities — well, he’s truly a Keller icon.” 

Joe Knox is survived by his wife of 67 years, Lorene, three children, seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. His visitation is scheduled for 5-7 p.m. tonight at Lucas Funeral Home, 137 E. Hill St. here in Keller, with a service planned for 11 a.m. today followed by internment at Bourland Cemetery.