LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - Wednesday, we here at KSWO said our goodbyes to a friend and coworker who passed away last week. Oliver Knop passed away last week at the age of 56.
In 1999, Ollie Knop began his career at KSWO. He became our chief photographer in 2006. Since then, he’s covered countless stories, ranging from council meetings and fundraisers to one of his favorite places, the WWII Jump School in Frederick.
“Ollie was a fixture in the community. He prided himself on being a fly on the wall so he’d be that quiet force in the back of the room filming an event or on breaking news on the scene,” said KSWO News Director Sharicka Brackens.
“He’s going to be missed. You can’t come into this building and not imagine being here without Oliver as a part of our team. He’s always been here and it’s going to be hard,” said KSWO News Ops Manager Matt Walker.
Ollie led the charge when it came to storm chasing, often mentoring new meteorologists on the first chases of their careers.
“Number 7 was his car. His car number, his unit number. We’ve taken the 7 off his vehicle, we’re going to replace it with an 8 and when we get a storm chasing vehicle, we’re going to put a 7 on it. That’s what Ollie would have wanted. He’ll still be chasing with us, even though he’s not here, he’s still here,” Walker said.
“Ollie can’t be replaced. We retired the number 7 from his vehicle but we won’t retire from our hearts. Ollie is a fixture in this building, he is a fixture among all his coworkers, we consider him family. His mom is family, she will always be family and you can’t replace family,” Brackens said.
The sadness of Ollie’s passing reached far beyond the walls of KSWO, which became evident with countless social media comments and messages mourning his loss.
“I think Ollie would have gotten a big kick out of it, I can see Ollie with the biggest smile with that gleam in his eye just laughing at us for making a big deal about him. But feeling proud of himself for what he did and what he left behind,” Brackens said.
“Ollie has touched so many people and been a part of so many people’s lives, even moreso than he imagined. He didn’t know this many people cared for him,” Walker said.
During a tough time, those comments offered a moment of joy and happiness to Ollie’s loved ones.
“It was good to see. A good thing for his mom to see, a good thing for his sister to see. Because I don’t think even they realized how important he was in this community,” Walker said.
“We read every single Facebook comment, every single share. His mom has seen all of those. We went through it with her and just scrolled through all the pictures with his mom, scrolled through all the comments and she was even amazed at all the people Ollie touched. He left behind shoes to fill. Ollie will never be replaced at KSWO. There’s no way we could ever find anybody to do what Ollie did,” Brackens said.
Thank you for everything Ollie, you are loved and missed by so many people.