Teacher L. Knapp, expert on reptiles

Posted: March 22, 2014

G. Leonard Knapp, 78, of Sellersville, an elementary teacher and respected herpetologist - who saw snakes as a force in nature - died of a cerebral hemorrhage Monday, March 17, at Abington Memorial Hospital.

Mr. Knapp taught school in the Pennridge district for 34 years, first at Hilltown Elementary School in 1962, and then at Sellersville Elementary School from 1966 until he retired in 1996.

He also owned and operated Reptilrama, a road show of his own animals that he took to area fairs, festivals, birthday parties, and schools. He kept some of the turtles, snakes, and lizards at home, but most elsewhere.

In addition to his road show, he also specialized in the capture of escaped snakes, alligators, and other reptiles. The escape artists often went to zoos in Philadelphia and Norristown.

Known as Len to friends, he helped establish the Philadelphia Herpetological Society and the Lehigh Valley Herpetological Society. The groups work to protect endangered reptiles and amphibians and their habitat.

Passionate about all animals, Mr. Knapp was notable for his encyclopedic knowledge of reptiles and amphibians. He participated in rescue efforts when the creatures were not being cared for properly.

From 1969 to 1970, he traveled with his reptile show for the Lutheran Church of America's "Circus Kirk," a church-sponsored circus composed primarily of college-student performers.

From 1991 to 2005, and from 2011 to 2013, he ran the Eastern Herpetological Expo in Pottstown.

Born in Sellersville, he was a 1954 graduate of Pennridge High School and a 1961 graduate of Gettysburg College.

He was a member of St. Andrew's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Perkasie. He also was a member of the Hatboro Dog Club and the Keeshond Club of Delaware Valley, where he was a past president.

In addition to his wife of 47 years, the former Nancy Moyer, Mr. Knapp is survived by two daughters, Bethanne G. Cassidy and Rhonda E. Geyer; a granddaughter; a brother; and a sister.

His funeral will be at 2 p.m., Saturday, March 22, at St. Andrew's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 20 Dill Ave., Perkasie, where visitations will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 21, and from noon to 1:45 p.m. Saturday.

Interment is in St. Andrew's Union Cemetery, Perkasie.

Donations may be made to St. Andrew's Evangelical Lutheran Church, P.O. Box 257, Perkasie, Pa. 18944.



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