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James "Jim" McKnight, 82, died Oct. 29 at his home in Annapolis.
Jim was born in Providence, RI on June 1, 1930. He received his B.A. from Brown University, and M.A. and Ph.D in psychology from the University of Minnesota. His career as a research scientist began at the Human Resources Research Organization before he created National Public Services Research Institute (NPSRI), a safety research organization, of which he was president and chief scientist. He merged NPSRI with the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE) in order to retire, but still served as advisor to PIRE, was associate editor for the Journal of Accident Analysis and Prevention, and served as a member and/or chairperson of several committees of the Transportation Research Board. His studies were widely published in professional journals and he was a member of major organizations in the field of human behavior.
Jim acted, wrote, composed, directed and produced for Washington DC-area amateur theater, including Hexagon and The Little Theater of Alexandria. He wrote numerous sketches and songs, as well as large musical numbers in the form of oratorios, operettas and a rock opera. He was a member of the Brown University Ski Team and continued skiing into his 70s. He sailed competitively as a child in New England and spent many weekends sailing the Chesapeake Bay as an adult. He moved to Annapolis in 1988 to live on his boat, and became active in the Eastport Yacht Club, where he started an amateur theater group called No-Talent Night, composing songs and sketches that spoofed the activities of EYC and its members.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Mickey, who died in 1999.
Survivors include Cheryl Lytle, his wife of 20 years; three children, son, Scott McKnight (Leslie) and daughter, Diane McKnight, both of Alexandria, Virginia, and son, Dave McKnight of Littleton, Colorado; and granddaughter, Mary McKnight.
Published in The Capital on Nov. 3, 2012