Raymond C. Knight
1925 ~ 2014
Raymond Knight, 88, passed away peacefully on March 27, 2014 in his apartment at Willow Park Assisted Living in Boise, Idaho.
Ray was born in Chicago, Illinois on June 14, 1925, to Earl Warwick and Doris Marion Knight. His family moved to Dixon, Illinois where he graduated from high school. In his youth, he dreamed of being an animator for Walt Disney Studios and would often sneak into the movie theaters to practice sketching the characters while watching cartoons.
His dream of enrolling into art school was put aside when, at the age of 18, he enlisted in the Army on July 3, 1943. Ray served in Europe in Co C 701st Tank Battalion during World War II. After the war he reenlisted in the Army, attained the rank of Staff Sargent, and was honorably discharged on April 21, 1950.
Upon returning home to Dixon, Ray met and married Joanne Blanche Shultz on April 28, 1951. Soon after getting married, he landed a job with International Harvester where Ray was able to apply his artistic skills as a draftsman.
In March of 1954, Ray, Joanne and their one-year-old son Glen moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Ray worked for the Sandia Corporation where he was involved in the development of classified weapons during the Cold War.
In July of 1962, Ray had the opportunity to work in the aerospace industry and the family moved to Los Angeles. While working at Rocketdyne, he was involved in the design and development of the J-2 rocket engine used in the Apollo space program and had the good fortune to meet with astronauts Wally Schirra and Thomas Stafford. After the Apollo program, he worked for a number of other aerospace companies involved in various space projects.
Ray's career came to full circle, however, with his last job. His experience as a draftsman and engineer landed him a position with Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California. Ray was involved in many exciting projects with Epcot and he often said it was the highlight of his career.
After Ray and Joanne both retired, they moved to Boise in October, 2000 to be closer to their son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren, Eric and Kelsey.
Ray was a long-suffering Chicago Cub fan. He always wanted to see his beloved Cubs make it to the World Series. He and his son attended the National League Championship Series in 1984 and 1989 games, but each time Ray had to say "wait until next year". In 2003, with a bottle of Champaign on ice, travel reservations made, two tickets to game 4 of the World Series in hand, a three run lead, and only 5 outs from capturing the National League Pennant, Ray watched in dismay as the cubs once again lost. Later, Ray and his son took one last road trip to Wrigley Field to watch the Cubs play.
Ray was also known as "The Marshal" as he loved to dress in western wear, complete with boots, cowboy hat and a marshal badge. He was a volunteer at the Old Idaho Penitentiary and especially enjoyed giving tours to school children. He gave tours through 2012.
He is preceded in death by his wife Joanne who died on March 3, 2009.
He is survived by his son, Glen Knight, his grandson Eric Forsch and granddaughter Kelsey Knight.
Ray and his wife Joanne will be interned at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery. A Military Funeral Honors service will be held on May 9 at 11:00 a.m. Services are under the direction of Summers Funeral Homes.
Memories and condolences may be shared with the family on Ray's memorial webpage at www.summersfuneral.com.
Summers Funeral Home - Boise Chapel
1205 West Bannock Street Boise, ID 83702
Published in Idaho Statesman on Apr. 6, 2014