On January 13, 2013, Mr. Edward Wiley McKnight, Sr. died peacefully in his home after a happy active life of nearly one hundred years.
Mr. McKnight was born at Samson (Geneva County), Alabama on March 2, 1913, to Arthur Coleman and Dora Lee Fulford McKnight. As a child, he grew up in the sawmill towns of Millville, Bay Harbor, Lakewood, and Holt in northwest Florida, Allenhurst, GA, and Riderwood, AL. While in Riderwood, he attended Choctaw County High School in Butler, AL, where he met and later married Helen Bush. They were married for seventy years until the time of her death in 2007.
He attended Auburn University until the mill closed in the summer of 1931. At that time, his parents moved to Gainsville, FL, because his parents had put their savings into a rooming house, where they served meals and rented rooms to University of Florida students. During that time, Ed attended the university, where he graduated in 1935 with a B.S. in mechanical engineering. He took advanced ROTC and received his army commission as a 2nd Lieutenant after graduation. In October of 1941, he was called to active duty with the U.S. Army and served as commander of the Light Platoon of Company B of the 701st TD Battalion. In November 8, 1942, his company landed in Algeria, where they assisted in the North African Campaign.
Later, he received rotation orders returning him to the states. He then reported for several months of advanced field artillery training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and later shipped out to the Philippine Islands. There, he was assigned to Battery C of the 41st Division as liaison officer with the infantry, until the fighting ended in the Philippines. His outfit visited Japan on their way home from the Pacific, and he was honorably discharged as a Captain.
He returned to work for the Greenwood County power system in South Carolina. Other projects and positions were in Greenville, South Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and DuPont Company in Memphis, Tennessee, where he worked for two years building a hydrogen cyanide and sodium cyanide plant. In December, 1952, he was offered the position of Power Plant Engineer at the University of North Carolina, in Chapel Hill where he and his wife lived until 1979. At that time, they retired and moved to Fairhope, AL.
In Fairhope, he enjoyed fishing with a group of men early in the mornings in the pier (now a marina) area operated by the Pope family. Their rent was a certain percentage of their catch to Mr. Pope. Both Ed and his wife enjoyed trips with the Baldwin Senior Travelers and were active members of Fairhope Methodist Church, where he has served as an usher. In his recent years, he has been a contributor of letters, quite a few published, to the Mobile Press-Register. After his wife’s death, he began attending his neighbor’s church, Faith Fellowship Church, where he has made friends and been able to attend regularly. He has been blessed with the ability to live an independent life style until very recently. He was predeceased in death by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Coleman McKnight, his beloved wife, Helen, and daughter, Evelyn Johnson, brothers, James Thomas, (1944, in Belgium), Arthur Coleman, Jr., and sister, Louise.
He is survived by his children, Edward Wiley McKnight, Jr. (Marion), Robert Oren McKnight (Sandra), grandchildren, Edward Wiley McKnight III (Linda), Susan McKnight, Dr. Helen Cali (Joe), Jesse Johnson (Christi), Robert Bush McKnight (Yoshi), and James McKnight, and grandchildren, Bodie, Tori, Clint, Katie, and Victoria.
Celebration of life service will be held on Thursday, January 17, 2013, at 2:00 p.m. at Wolfe-Bayview Funeral Home in Fairhope, AL.
The family will receive friends from 1:00 p.m. until service time.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105, or Faith Fellowship Church, Fairhope, AL 36532, or Fairhope Methodist Church Memorial Fund.
The family and friends of Mr. McKnight would like to express our appreciation to the Mercy Medical Home Hospice program, and the Golden Rule owners and sitters who cared for our much loved father, grandfather, great grandfather, and friend for their compassion and commitment in his care. You were wonderful!
Arrangements by Wolfe-Bayview Funeral Homes & Crematory, Inc.,
19698 Greeno Road, Fairhope, AL 36532, (251) 990-7775 www.wolfefuneralhomes.com
All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be published, broadcast or redistributed in any manner.