SWANSBORO - Wilda Hurst Knight, born Oct. 17, 1920, of Swansboro, passed away quietly at her home on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, surrounded by family and friends.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11 at Swansboro United Methodist Church with Dr. Ed Gunter officiating. Burial will follow at Oak Grove United Methodist Church Cemetery at Bear Creek in Hubert. Serving as pallbearers will be grandsons, Andrew Ross and Russell Ross; nephew, Bob Hancock; grandson-in-law, Tommy Moore; and good friends, Bill Joseph and Frank Graser.
Mrs. Knight was the daughter of Lora (Taylor) Hancock and Nathaniel L. Hancock of Onslow County and was also preceded in death by husbands, Basil B. Hurst and Curtis H. Knight.
A life long resident of Onslow County, Mrs. Knight graduated from Swansboro High School and Strayers-Bryant-Stranton School of Maryland. After her marriage to Mr. Hurst, she went to work on Camp Lejeune when the base opened. Later she joined the Jacksonville Daily News as its society editor when the paper was in its infancy. In 1960, she graduated from The Hartford School of Insurance and in 1962, she opened Hurst Insurance and Realty, the first insurance and real estate agency in Swansboro. She was appointed to the Travel Council of N.C. by Governor Bob Scott and travelled extensively both nationally and abroad promoting North Carolina tourism. She was also instrumental in bringing Uniflite Boat Company to Onslow County and for Swansboro receiving the Governor's Award. Additionally, she was founder and editor of the Tideland News, the first weekly newspaper in Swansboro which she called "the finest mullet wrapper money can buy." An active member of the Democratic Party and the Democratic Women, she was elected to the N.C. House of Representatives in 1977, and served two terms. As such, she was the first woman elected to that office from the third district which served both Onslow and Carteret counties. She married Mr. Knight in 1992, and they spent their retirement winters in Sarasota, Fla., until his death in 2010. Each year when it was time to come home, Mrs. Knight looked forward to returning to N.C. and her roots in Onslow County. After she retired, in 2002 and 2004, she wrote two novels: A Stranger on Shore; and A One Mule Plantation. She also wrote many short stories that have yet to be published. Mrs. Knight is survived by her three children, Basil Jackson Hurst, Barbara Hurst Dameron and William Lane Hurst; and her brother, Nathaniel Taylor Hancock, all of Onslow County. Additionally, she is survived by her six grandchildren, Barbara Jo Dameron Brinkley, Devon Hurst Ligon, Amy Dameron Moore, Anna Layne Hurst, Joshua Hurst and Christopher Lane Hurst; and her eight great-grandchildren, Andrew Ross, Russell Ross, DonRay Mayle, Jessica Snook, Hayden Ligon, Barrett Bozard, Shellby Moore and Landon Moore. Mrs. Knight was a member of Swansboro United Methodist Church, The Daughters of the American Revolution, Eastern Star, Onslow County Democratic Women, and Women of the Moose. Because of her work in State government, she was listed in "Who's Who in Government, Third Edition," and in "Personalities of the South." She also received the N.C. Distinguished Service Award, for her work promoting business in Onslow and Carteret County.
The family would like to express their gratitude to her wonderful friends and neighbors for their kindness and always being there for her when needed. Also a special thanks to Sherrill Smith and Mary Downey, her caregivers, and to Hospice for the wonderful care they provided which allowed her to remain in her home.
The family will receive friends from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday evening at Jones Funeral Home, Swansboro Chapel.
Electronic condolences may be left for the family at jonesfh.org