TMC remembers hospital magician Jay Knapp

knapp1Tucson Medical Center is fortunate to have strong support from the communities throughout Southern Arizona. That support comes in many forms, and TMC greatly appreciates those who volunteer their time to assist and comfort patients.

Jay J. Knapp was a greatly valued member of the TMC volunteer team who generously volunteered every week for 14 years, performing magic at the bedside for pediatric patients and their families.

Sadly, we lost Jay J. Knapp in December, 2016.

Knapp had a lifetime fascination with magic; to add meaning to his retirement, he taught himself magic and became a master of sleight-of-hand.

Considering Knapp’s good nature and compassionate attitude, his son, a doctor in Los Angeles, encouraged him to perform magic for hospitalized children.

He immediately discovered that giving the gift of magic to children immediately transformed their anxiety and discomfort into enchantment, laughs and hope. Knapp often spoke of the joy and thrill that he experienced in seeing this transformation.

Before leaving the room, he would touch his wand to the child and say “Now the magic is inside you, and you’re going to get better!”

“Jay took enormous pride in his volunteer work,” said Nicole Zucker, a TMC child life specialist. “He enjoyed making patients smile and loved it even more if he could mesmerize the patients and their families with his magic.”

As his health began to decline, he regularly said that he wanted to get better so he could return to doing magic for the children – it meant that much to him.

He had 88 rich and fulfilling years, and we are fortunate he shared so much of his time to bring smiles and laughter to TMC for Children.

Mr. Knapp’s volunteerism was widely recognized and appreciated in our community, and was featured in local news, the Oro Valley Explorer, and the Arizona Daily Star.

The TMC family will miss the magic, joy and hope that Jay brought to our community’s most vulnerable patients.



  1. Dr. Herschel Knapp says:

    To you, Jay was a magician; to me, he was my father. He was happiest when he was giving his finest. Each time we spoke, he’d tell me how much the smiles and laughs that he derived from his performances nourished him. I commended him for turning hopelessness into hope. Vivid memories of my father will always bring me joy. He’ll be missed with love.

Leave a Reply

Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461
%d bloggers like this: