Marilyn C. Knowlton, 85

Jul 26, 2020

Marilyn C. Knowlton, lifelong resident and longtime activist and preservationist who relentlessly championed the rights of the public along with the protection of public lands in Onset for nearly a half century, passed peacefully at her Onset home on July 20, 2020, at age 85.  

Born in Onset on Waban Avenue, to Martha C. Rich, Mrs. Knowlton was raised to be independent, honest, and kind. She maintained those values throughout her life, making her the woman we all know and love so much today. She became a nurse and was one of the best at her job. She was charitable, but never wanted the credit; compassionate, and dedicated to her family, her work, her animals, and her town; always. 

Mrs. Knowlton and her husband devoted hundreds of hours amassing a repository of legal and historical documents that were many times instrumental in successfully defending The Public Decree of 1916; and brought that knowledge to the people. They were both members of the Onset Protective League and, in 1985, they established the “Committee to Save Onset’s Beaches” (CSOB). After his death in 2002, Mrs. Knowlton continued to be an advocate for Onset, its people and its dedicated land; her home. She continued to fight for what was right until the day she died. 

Survivors include her three sons, Richard Knowlton Jr. of Hatchville, Joseph Knowlton and Steven Ramsey; both of Onset; four daughters, Martha Ramsey of Onset, Judy Matar of Millis, Susan Knowlton of Hatchville, and Kim Cline of Gastonia, NC., Lori and James Moran, devoted friends who she loved as her own, their daughter, granddaughter & grandson Elizabeth, Yasmin and James Moran; her very best, life-long friend, Marie Strawn; 10 grandchildren, 15 great grandchildren, and nieces and nephews all across the country.     

She was predeceased by her husband, Richard C. Knowlton of Onset, her son Daniel L. Knowlton, and her great-grandson Lucas R. Knowlton.

She and her husband will be laid to rest together in Agawam Cemetery in Wareham; during a private ceremony with immediate family. In lieu of flowers, please make donations in her memory to Champs Animal Shelter, 1057 Main St., W. Wareham, MA 02576. 

Arrangements by Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, Wareham. To leave a message of condolence visit: