Charles Wilson Knowlton was born in Columbia, the son of Alice Elizabeth Wilson and Benjamin Almy Knowlton. He attended the University of South Carolina where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1943. He received the LL.B. degree from Harvard University Law School in 1949. While at Carolina, he met his bride-to-be the former Mildred Brown of Raleigh.
He served as an officer in the Navy in World War II and in the Korean Conflict and commanded minesweepers in the Pacific.
On returning to civilian life in 1952, he joined the Columbia law firm, now known as Sinkler & Boyd and was the Senior Partner at the time of his death. He received numerous distinctions including the Algernon Sidney Sullivan Award in 1967 and the Bar’s DuRant Award in 1988. He was chairman of the Supreme Court Committee on Character and Fitness and a permanent member of the Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference. In his early career he was known as an outstanding trial lawyer and later became well-known as an expert in the fields of banking, corporate and probate law.
He was a devoted lifelong member of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral where he served as Vestryman, Junior Warden and Senior Warden.
It is a fitting tribute to the life and career of Charlie Knowlton that there has been established at this institution the Charles W. Knowlton Seminar and Lecture Series in Law and Humanities which is the first of the interdisciplinary programs planned for the Law School. Charlie is survived by his beloved wife Mildred, their four children, Charles, Jr., Mildred, Robert and Frank, and eleven grandchildren at the time of his death.