Dr. Eddie Ade Knowles

May 3, 1946 ~ February 4, 2020 (age 73)


Troy - Dr. Eddie Ade Knowles, 73, returned to the Ancestors on Tuesday, February 4th, 2020. He was born in Harlem NY, May 3rd, 1946, the son of Efhram and Maggie Knowles. 

Dr. Knowles was known as Ade to his friends and family. Ade received his Bachelor's Degree from Lincoln University. While at Lincoln, Ade was also an active participant in the Civil Rights Movement through his involvement with SNCC and CORE. He received his Master's Degree from Columbia University and a Doctorate in Public Policy and Administration from Rockefeller College.  

His academic career began as a teacher in the CUNY system in New York City. From there, he accepted the position of Dean of Minority Affairs at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, NY. It was at RPI where Ade would remain and advance through for over 40 years, holding the positions of Dean of Students, Vice President for Student Life and Professor of Practice in the Arts and Humanities.

Teaching was his passion and the drum the instrument of that passion. A member of the original Gil Scott Heron and the Midnight Band, Ade brought his love of the rhythms to RPI where he taught African and Afro-Cuban Percussion. He founded the group Ensemble Congeros, his 'Musicial Family' in 2004; composed of alumni from his classes at RPI. They played throughout the Capitol Region and beyond. Ade and Ensemble Congeros recorded a DVD in 2012 and a CD in 2019. The group will continue to perform and share the music of the African diaspora which was so dear to Ade. 

Ade's spiritual life permeated all of his pursuits. He was a priest in the Yoruba religion of Ifa and a member of the Ile Oshun Ori'ta community. Ade brought together his devotion to his religion and the drum as their Director of Music.
Ade leaves behind many hearts touched by his passion; many hands put on the drum and taught to chase the rhythms and many minds opened with his wisdom and guidance. 

A private funeral will be held by his spiritual community. A public celebration of his life and legacy will be announced in the coming weeks. 

Thank you Ade for all that you have given us. You will be dearly missed.

In lieu of flowers, donations to Sponsers for Educational Opportunity (SEO) would be welcome. Ade was a member of SEO's Board early on and was committed to its principals of mentoring and supporting young minority students to go on to college and become successful in their careers. SEO Website:


Private Services


Sponsers for Educational Opportunity (SEO)

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