As a bank executive, Herb Knoll (70) was known as a man who could get the job done. But when the Western New York native lost his wife Michelle Renee Knoll to pancreatic cancer in 2008, he found few resources to help him recover from his grief. The native of Western New York began researching the world of widowers; the more he learned about their plight, from high suicide rates to physical and emotional problems, the more he became motivated to write a book featuring fellow widowers’ insights for fellow widowers. After nine years of research, The Widower’s Journey was released in 2017 and continues to earn 4.5 Stars out of 5 reviews on Amazon.com.
Knoll is an experienced bank marketer, bank president and professional speaker turned widower advocate. In 2013, he founded the Widowers Support Network (WidowersSupportNetwork.com) to better “serve, comfort and assist widowers and those who love them.” Knoll also founded the Michelle’s Angels Foundation, Inc., in 2008, a not-for-profit whose mission is to “provide love, hope, compassion, and comforting music to those who quietly suffer.”
A man of many interests, outside of banking, Knoll has been found serving as a weekly columnist for the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (A Gannett Newspaper), as contributing editor for Sales & Marketing Management magazine, and as a feature writer for Marketing Times magazine. In 1985, Knoll published his first book, The Total Executive. Following the book’s release, Knoll won the first-ever Piero DiMitri Executive Image Award (1988) sponsored by the world-renowned fashion designer Piero DiMitri and presented to Knoll by actress Jennifer O’Neill and world-class trumpeter Wynton Marsalis during New York’s Spring Preview of Men’s Fall Fashions. PBS affiliate WNED-TV produced Today’s Executive, a series of three half-hour television shows hosted by Knoll and featuring lessons from his book.
Knoll co-founded the Buffalo Ambassadors (Buffalo, NY), served as a board member for WMHT-TV Educational Television (PBS) (Albany, NY), Junior Achievement of Nashville, TN (TN), Studio Arena Theatre (Buffalo, NY), Convention and Visitors Bureau (Buffalo, NY) and volunteered as a Public Information Officer (PIO) for the Sumter Country Fire & Rescue (FL).
An inductee of the Buffalo/Niagara Sales & Marketing Executives, Inc. Hall of Fame, Knoll served as the Executive Director of the 10,000+ member Sales & Marketing Executives International. Knoll also served as a charter member of the board of directors for Nap Ford Community School in Orlando, Florida.
According to Knoll, his work as an advocate for widowers that he is most proud. His ministry, the Widowers Support Network, inspired playwright Neil Radice to write and produce the play, “I’m Fine,” which went on to win Emmanuel Fried Award for Outstanding New Play in upstate New York (2017).
A popular guest on various international online outlets, websites, blogs, and podcasts, Knoll’s insights are regularly showcased on NationalWidowersOrganization.org, MennMore.com, ArtofManliness.com, OpentoHope.com, and Nomispublications.com, to name just a few.
Followers of Knoll’s ministry enjoy the Widower’s Journey Podcast hosted by Knoll, which began programming in July 2019 and is available on all major podcast host providers.
A former U.S. Army Reserve Drill Sergeant (E-7) (98th Division), Knoll is a proud Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Columbus Council 12761. He lives in Lake Mary, Florida, with his new wife, Maria C. Knoll, Ph.D.