John Knebel

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Funeral services for John Knebel, 46 year old Buffalo man who passed away Saturday evening in a house fire in Buffalo, will be held Saturday, January 3rd at 10:00 a.m. from the Big Horn Baptist Church in Buffalo with Pastor Pete Friese officiating. Viewing will be held from the Harness Funeral Home Chapel on Friday from 1:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. A private family interment will be held in Willow Grove Cemetery in Buffalo. Donations in John’s memory may be made to the St. Francis Animal Shelter in care of the Harness Funeral Home at 351 N. Adams in Buffalo. Online condolences may be made at
John Leon Knebel was born on November 24, 1968 in Helena, Montana to John and Kitty Knebel. He grew up and went to school in Helena and graduated from Capitol High School with the class of 1986. After high school he was in the U.S. Coast Guard for a short time before attending Wyo Tech in Laramie, where he graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Auto Body and Business management. He graduated from Wyo Tech in 1989 and moved to San Diego, California where he worked in a collision repair shop. In 1991 he moved to Billings where he worked for Hank’s Body Shop. In 1993 he moved to Buffalo where he purchased the Buffalo Body Shop and opened up as Knebel Body and Paint. In 2010 Knebel Body and Paint was invited to become a member of the Montana Collision Repair Specialists Organization. John continued living and operating his business until his death.
He was a member of the Buffalo Wild Bunch and other civic organizations for many years. John loved cars and spent his life working and re-building them. He loved Buffalo and helping its people, which showed in his endless generosity. He also enjoyed sailing and flying.
He is survived by his mother Kitty Merrill; one brother Michael Knebel and his wife Rebecca of Tega Cay, South Carolina; his partner Celena Nees of Buffalo; his step-mother Kay Ballard of Elliston, Montana; one step-sister Heidi Sanders of Missoula, Montana; one aunt, Kathy Duncan of Buffalo; one uncle Darrell Rich and his wife Joyce of Tulsa, Oklahoma local first cousins, Chris Rickett, Casey Jones, Sarah Myers and Daniel Duncan; other first cousins, Jessica Nunley of Dallas, Texas, Lisa Brock of Tulsa, and Emily Grady of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and numerous other cousins. He was preceded in death by his father, John D. Knebel and his grandparents, Dr. John and Ginny Knebel and Leon and Lucy Rich.