Royal E. Knight

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Royal E. Knight

Dr. Royal Edwin Knight, 80, of Florence, Alabama, died at home on Saturday, Aug. 16, holding the hand of his wife, Eva. He was born on Dec. 14, 1933, in a loving home in rural White County, Illinois. His parents, Royal Thomas Knight and Mary (Polly) Landingham Knight, were blessed with 12 children, and Royal was the seventh among them. His siblings, in order of birth, were Edward Knight, Wilma Woodrow, Ronald Knight, Betty Michels, Vineta Jones, Wayne Knight, Loyal Knight, twins Bertis and Vertis Knight, Ladonna Crackel, and Garrel Knight. Royal also had an older half sister, Viola, from a previous marriage of his father's that left his father a widower.

A graveside service was held Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014, at 1 p.m. in Funks Grove, Illinois. A memorial service followed on Sunday, Aug. 24, in Grayville, Illinois. An additional memorial service will be held on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, at 7 p.m. at First Christian Church in Florence, Alabama.

Royal met Eva Harriet Goff at a National Science Foundation summer teaching institute at Purdue University in 1971, and they married on May 28, 1972, in Genesco, New York. Three years later, their only son, Chris, was born.

Royal received both his college and master's degrees from Eastern Illinois University, and his doctorate from the University of Northern Colorado. He also served in the United States Army and was honorably discharged after earning a sharpshooter designation and receiving a good conduct medal. He worked for the Carter Oil Company and Exxon and then went on to teach at Wabash Valley College in Illinois, the University of Northern Colorado, Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania, and finally the University of North Alabama where he served as professor and chair of the department of accounting and business law for well over a decade. In retirement, he worked for the Waste Reduction and Technology Transfer (WRATT) Foundation on the campus of TVA.

He taught his students not only to be extremely competent, but also completely ethical.

Royal was a Mason for over 50 years. In Florence, he was an elder at First Presbyterian Church. He later became active at Grace Church and subsequently at First Christian Church. He was also a former president of both the Optimist Club and the Institute of Management Accountants. He was a charter participant in the Shoals Area Committee for the Employment of People with Disabilities Start Success program, served as chair of the Governor's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities and chaired the Board of Directors of the Florence Federal Credit Union.

He was twice the optimist of the year, received both the Governor's Certificate and Citation for Meritorious Service from the Alabama Governor's Committee on the Employment of People with Disabilities, and the Distinguished Service Award from the Shoals Area Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities. He was an honorary member of Delta Mu Delta.

Dr. Knight is survived by his wife, Dr. Eva Knight; his son and daughter-in-law, Chris and Dr. Karis Knight (Decatur); six siblings, Ronald, Betty, Vineta, Loyal, Bertis, and Garrel, who all live in southern Illinois; countless nephews; and many nieces, nephews, in-laws, and friends.

He was predeceased by his parents and five siblings, Edward, Wilma, Wayne, Vertis, and Ladonna.

Dr. Knight was a man of faith who believed in Christ as his risen Lord and Savior. He believed his joyous faith should be practiced every day of the week and in all circumstances; even through the time of his pain and suffering.

The family requests that no flowers be sent. Instead, they suggest that contributions be made in Dr. Knight's honor to the Royal E. Knight Graduate Accounting Excellence award at UNA (Box 5113) or to Start on Success (P.O. Box 2388, 1450 E. Avalon Avenue, Muscle Shoals, AL 35662) which offers paid internships to high school seniors with disabilities.
Published in Florence Times Daily on Aug. 27, 2014
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