and technology quickly became second nature to Lisa Knowles, born
on March 28, 1965 in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, the second child
of Walter and Betty Knowles.
She led a typical childhood, with one exception - she loved to
take things apart. No matter what the size or complexity, she
could disassemble and reassemble anything. Her love of seeing
how things worked spawned other interests in mechanical engineering
and architecture. But these were not the fields Lisa would settle
upon. She found an intense fascination with computer software.
Lisa could read a program language once, understand it, and begin
coding. As technology improved, so did the quantity of her computers.
Her "command center" looked like it could rival NASA.
When Lisa wasn't on the computer, she could be found traveling
to exotic islands with her friends, writing poetry, and penning
romantic plays. Lisa was an accomplished flute, guitar, and keyboard
player. She began to teach herself the violin.
Lisa was an avid race car fan. Whether it was Formula One or
NASCAR's Winston Cup, you would find Lisa in front of the TV on
race day. She loved # 24 Jeff Gordon and had followed his career
prior to his entrance into the Winston Cup. Lisa's room looked
like a shrine to Jeff. Many an afternoon Lisa would spend on the
phone with her brother discussing strategies and tactics.
Lisa had many dreams in her life. One of them was to buy her
own house. She fulfilled that dream with a beautiful home in Alpharetta,
Georgia. But the other dreams Lisa had would remain just that.
In 1996 Lisa was diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease.
She returned to Virginia for the love and support of her family
and friends. Her world of independence and freedom now turned
into dependence and humility. It was hard for Lisa to adjust to
the new lifestyle. But she did so with grace, dignity, and many
Lisa's computer ability coupled with today's technology sustained
a modicum of her former independence. She was able to peruse the
Internet, obtain e-mail, and watch TV. Lisa was still programming
right up to her last day on earth.
Lisa's brightest and fondest moment during the last five years
was when she received an autograph from Jeff Gordon and a personal
sympathy card signed by both Jeff and his wife offering their
prayers. Her last race day saw her man "Jeffy Poo" win.
Lisa was a prisoner inside her own body. But her stubbornness
and desire to live was an inspiration to all who knew her. She
may not have been able to fulfill her life's dreams on earth,
but she will be able to fulfill them in heaven.