By David Carroll

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Hamilton County Elections Commission Administrator Claude "Bud" Knowles has died at the age of 74.

Knowles died Friday morning after a long battle with cancer.  Family members say he had visited the Election Commission office to visit with the staff on Thursday, and upon returning home, told his family he "was going to see Jesus."  His wife of 56 years, Barbara, and other family members say he died peacefully.

Bud Knowles had held the administrative post since July 2005 when he was named to the post.  He had joined the Election Commission in 1993 after retiring from the bonding business.

County Mayor Claude Ramsey praised Knowles as a man "who took over an office that had been through some difficult times, and turned it into an efficient organization that rose above politics.  Bud was a gentle man, and treated everyone fairly."

Attorney Jerry Summers, who currently serves on the Election Commission says, "the Knowles family has been a mainstay in public service in Hamilton County for generations.  Bud and his family have served this community well.  I've never heard anyone say anything negative about Bud.  He has built a good staff at the Election Commission, and they'll carry on his work, but he'll be missed."

Services for Bud Knowles will be held Monday at 1:00 at Oakwood Baptist Church on Bonny Oaks Drive.  Arrangements are by Heritage Funeral Home.