Chris Knapp knew his days were numbered and he made the most of them.
“He put up a big fight,” said Jery Solano, who worked with Knapp at the Village Pub in Wilton Manors. “He wasn’t going to give up, but unfortunately the cancer took over.”
Knapp, a popular bartender in Wilton Manors, died Saturday, Nov. 27 from complications of throat cancer, said family members. He was 49.
Knapp was remembered by colleagues up and down Wilton Drive as a guy who played the hand he was dealt and never complained.
“He lived life on his own terms,” said Michael Driscoll, a bartender at Tropics and a close friend of Knapp’s. “He was a tough motherfucker. He got a lot out of a little time.”
As Driscoll served spirits to his regulars during happy hour Wednesday at Tropics, he recalled good times spent with Knapp. The two were roommates for four years.
“We would go out to the Hard Rock and gamble once a week,” Driscoll said. “He liked to party, but he knew when to cash out. He was the one who had to make me leave.”
At Village Pub, Knapp was always quick to lend a helping hand, said co-owner Mark Byard.
“He was always willing to do something for others,” Byard said. “Whether it was bringing food for our Thanksgiving buffet or baking a cake for AIDS Walk, Chris always gave back to the community.”
In October, Knapp told his co-workers he would no longer be able to tend bar as the cancer in his throat began to metastasize. He spent much of his remaining months with Kenneth White, a close friend.
“He didn’t die alone,” White said.
“We lived together for 10 and half years – not as lovers but as very close friends,” White added. “When I first met Chris I was very attracted to him, but he just wanted to be friends. He had a great personality and was very popular.”
Although 30 years his junior, Knapp, White said was very much a loyal companion.
“He was very good to me,” White said. “He bought me a recliner and took me to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse for my birthday.”
Knapp was born in Vietnam and adopted at the age of seven by Connie and Dan Knapp of Sidney, New York. He is survived by his stepmother Patti, three brothers, two sisters and nieces and nephews. White said the family intends to charter a boat and spread his ashes at sea.
A “Celebration of Life” party is scheduled for Dec. 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Village Pub.