Joe Knowles, church planter and pastor, dies

Dec 23, 2020

Joe Knowles

Joseph (Joe) P. Knowles, longtime Arizona pastor and church planter died Dec. 3. He was 85.

“Joe Knowles was a consummate soul winner,” said David Johnson, Arizona Southern Baptist Convention executive director. “Whether he was planting a church, pastoring a church, or just serving in a local church, Joe was always sharing the gospel with others. There will be many people in heaven because of Joe Knowles! He set a great example for all of us to follow!”

Knowles served in the U.S. Air Force and then went on to serve as pastor in more than 20 Baptist churches in Arizona, Oklahoma, Missouri, Virginia, Texas and Tennessee. He and his wife, Dixie, moved to Arizona 28 years ago.

“Joe and Dixie Knowles were such a marvelous team who had huge hearts to help everyone know their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” said Ken Belflower, retired AZSBC church planting facilitator. “In the early ’90s Joe and Dixie Knowles responded to God’s call to start a church in Phoenix called Happy Valley Baptist Church.

“Joe and Dixie did so well as church planters that Joe was invited to serve on the AZSBC staff as a church planting strategist and went on to help train church planters and start other churches in Arizona,” Belflower continued. “Not only have Arizona Southern Baptists benefited from the Knowles’ contribution to church planting, but my wife and I are much richer by having known them.”

Besides starting Happy Valley Baptist Church in Glendale, Knowles also started Emmanuel Baptist Church in Sun City. He was pastor of Clarkdale Baptist Church in Clarkdale and served on the staff of First Baptist Church of Sun City, Superstition Foothills Baptist Church in Gold Canyon, Longmore Road Baptist Church in Mesa and Brown Road Baptist Church in Mesa.

Knowles was preceded in death by his wife and the love of his life, Dixie. He is survived by his sons, Paul Knowles (Nicole Storto) and Jack Knowles (Martha Alvarez); three brothers and three sisters; two grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

A funeral service was held at Sunland Mortuary in Sun City on Dec. 17.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Mary’s Food Bank.

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