As a young man, he spent his days in Bonney Lake and Kent, Wash., attending Kent-Meridian High School where he graduated with honors in 1959. After graduation he enlisted in the United States Navy and was assigned to the Pacific Fleet in Honolulu, Hawaii. It was during his time as an enlisted sailor that his life was changed forever after he was selected to strike for an officer’s billet as a “mustang.” He answered the call and was commissioned as an Ensign, becoming a fighter jet pilot during the Vietnam War.
While he was an officer, serving at sea and on shore, he earned his Bachelor of Science in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley between 1968 and 1976.
In the summer of 1968 his life would take another turn when he survived a soft crash landing of his jet. After walking out of the jungle and vowing never to pilot again, he took on the challenge of becoming an intelligence analyst for the Naval Special Warfare Command in Coronado, Calif., and the National Reconnaissance Office in Virginia, where he eventually rose to the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
In 1972 he met the love of his life, Grace Elizabeth Igo, in Seattle. They fell fast in love after he left his business card stapled to her timecard in the restaurant where they met. As the story goes in the family, he came over to see the Victorian architecture of the house she rented and they never left each other’s side after that.
In his later years, after retirement from the Navy, he assisted Grace in managing apartment complexes in San Francisco, Seattle and Reno, all while continuing to work as a part-time contractor for the U.S. government. In 1984, while attending San Francisco’s Golden Gate Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he met future LDS prophet Thomas S. Monson and was given a private blessing while Monson was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He was sealed for time and eternity to his family in the Oakland Temple in 1987 and was a member of the high priesthood quorum in the Golden Gate Ward. In 1992 he retired once and for all from government work to concentrate on raising his family.
He is survived by his wife, Grace; five children, Randy Jameson, Greg, Nadia, Andria (Loe) and Autumn, and five grandchildren; his sister, Sandra Knight (Lazarro) and brother Eugene Knight. He is preceded in death by his father and mother, and his brother Charles M. Knight, Jr.
There was no better man. There was nothing he would not do for his children, nothing he would not teach them and never a dime he would not spare if it meant their success. He was a kind man with a thundering hand that inspired discipline and, in the end, a love of Johnny Rivers and Dion DiMucci records.
And when he spoke about loving his wife, he always referred to one song and one song only. These are the lyrics he referenced when it came to loving her:
Love the girl who holds the world in a paper cup…
Drink it up…
Love her and she’ll bring ya’ luck.
And if you find she helps your mind…
Buddy, take her home.
Don’t ya’ live alone…
Try to earn what lovers own.
Interment with military honors will take place at a future date at Hillcrest Burial Park in Kent, Wash., where he will lie beside his father and mother in earthly rest.