“Good to be with you fine people!” Roy Koenigsknecht often exclaimed as he said hello or bid farewell after a lively evening of conversation or cards. This heartfelt expression sums up the joy of knowing Roy. He was generous, loved for others to be happy and valued time spent with family and friends. We take comfort in the thought that these were the first words he uttered as he greeted his loved ones who passed before him.
Roy’s unmatched pride in his family, joy of teaching and capacity to love along with his many academic and professional accomplishments made this world a better place. He was a man who always dared to try, seldom took no or can’t for an answer, used his incredible intellect and work ethic for good and encouraged people around him to reach their potential.
The simplest moments were often the best with Roy. He was unmatched in making you feel welcomed and important, often while plying you with Coca-Cola or Manhattans during an Ohio State Football Game – Go Bucks! His loving recipe was 3 parts Husband/Dad/Brother (good bourbon), one part Mentor/Teacher (sweet vermouth) and served with a dash of Joy (cherry juice … no bitters – literally or figuratively).
He enjoyed political discussions, playing cards, sporting events and presidential biographies. His greatest gift to his family was to be fully present. His wife and children were second to none and he shared the world with them – even daring to do countless cross-country trips in a pop-up camper without a set plan. He was fearless, happy and unstoppable in those moments, and that was exactly the way he lived his life. With love and admiration, we bid farewell to this beloved man: It was so good to be with you, Roy!
Dr. Roy A. Koenigsknecht, husband, father, grandfather, decorated professor, university dean and former President of the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA), passed away surrounded by loving family on October 18 in Fort Collins, Colorado, at the age of 79 almost three years after suffering a major stroke.
Roy was born in Fowler, Michigan, on December 27, 1941, to Joseph and Katherine (Zimmerman) Koenigsknecht. He is survived by the love of his life, wife of 55 years, Marilie A. Koenigsknecht (Dani) of Hermansville, Michigan. They started married life and a family in Evanston (1966-1985), and then moved to Columbus, Ohio (1985-2019) before settling in Fort Collins. Roy was a proud father to John (Dawn), Adam (Amy) and Amanda Brummel (Karl) and had six grandchildren that called him “Bapa”: Eli, Jonah, Jake, AJ, Colson and Erik.
For more than 45 years, Roy was a distinguished university professor, dean, scholar, mentor, and leader in the field of communication disorders. He served for a decade as Dean of the Graduate Schools of The Ohio State University and previously as Dean of Admissions and Associate Dean of the Graduate Schools of Northwestern University, as well as Chairperson of the Northwestern Department of Communication Sciences/Disorders. He earned his doctorate and master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology and Communicative Disorders from Northwestern University, a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University (distinguished alumni award recipient), and was a Fulbright fellow.
He served as President of ASHA, on the NIH Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Advisory Board and chaired its National Strategic Research Plan for Speech and Speech Disorders. Roy was Vice President of the Ohio State University Research Foundation and President of the Torch Club Columbus (2005-2006). His scholarship and leadership was recognized with the Honors of the Association, the highest honor ASHA bestows, for contributions of such excellence that they have enhanced or altered the course of communication sciences and disorders. According to the ASHA citation, “Koenigsknecht’s record of scholarship, publications, and national and international presentations makes him a giant of the field of communication disorders.”
Roy is also survived by his siblings Bob (Pat) Koenigsknecht, MaryAnn (Roger) Kaminskis, Jane Fox, Luke (Rosemary) Koenigsknecht, and Don (Colleen) Koenigsknecht; in-laws Julie (Greg) Olson, John (Mariella) Dani and many amazing nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, Carl (Judy) and Joe (Cindy); his sister, Kay (Frank) Hufnagel, and his beloved daughter Meg.
A celebration of life will be held in spring 2022, details to follow. Roy will be buried with his daughter in Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Evanston. In lieu of flowers, donations in his honor can be made to the ASHFoundation.