Former Congressman Joe Knollenberg dies at 84

Former U.S. Rep. Joe Knollenberg
In this Nov. 4, 2008 file photo, U.S. Rep. Joe Knollenberg, R-Mich., talks to the media after voting in his precinct in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

DETROIT (AP) — Former U.S. Rep. Joe Knollenberg, a Republican who served suburban Detroit’s Oakland County for 16 years, has died. He was 84.

Michigan State Sen. Marty Knollenberg says his father died Tuesday of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. He died at a memory care facility in Troy, where he lived for 2 1/2 years.

Knollenberg was born in 1933 in Mattoon, Illinois, where he grew up on a farm. After getting a bachelor’s degree and serving in the Army, he started working in insurance and transferred to Michigan.

Knollenberg was elected to Congress in 1992 — his first elected office. He had been chairman of the Oakland County Republican Party, a district chairman and president of a local GOP club. Democrat Gary Peters, now a U.S. senator, beat Knollenberg in November 2008.