Frederic Archie Knight, born in St. Joseph's Hospital in Houston, Texas on April 22, 1946 to Medric R. and Meedy Mae Knight, went home to be with his parents and the Lord on October 21, 2013. A life-long resident of the Houston area, Fred was raised in Galena Park, Texas, and graduated from Galena Park High School in 1964, where he was a three-year letter winner in Track and Field and an amateur Golden Gloves boxer.
In early 1966, Fred enlisted in the United States Navy
, as his father had before him. Because of his advanced skills as a welder and mechanic, Fred entered the Navy as an instant Petty Officer-only the second to do so from the state of Texas since WWII. Fred served as a Fighting SEABEE and Navy Diver. In August of 1967, Fred's camp in Vietnam endured an enemy mortar attack which killed many of his brothers in arms. Gravely wounded, Fred was transported back to the United States. He spent many months in recovery and rehabilitation at NAS Corpus Christi, TX before his honorable discharge. For his combat service to his country, Fred received two Purple Heart
s among other commendations. Fred was a true American, who proudly fought for his country.
In addition to being a decorated veteran, Fred was also a professional athlete. He was a professional bull rider for several years in Texas and surrounding circuits following his military service. When asked by his children why he did this, Fred simply replied: "Well, I'd already been shot, so I figured it couldn't be much worse than that to ride a bull." For several years, he sold insurance for American Banker's Life and Casualty Company, and was one of the company's top salesmen.
Using his experience as a welder in the Navy, Fred thereafter worked overseas in Indonesia and other places building infrastructure for developing nations. This work led him to start Knight Supply Company in Houston, Texas. Initially a welding supply company, Knight Supply transitioned to a full-service safety supply house that serviced the oil and gas industry throughout the Gulf Coast. Knight Supply had offices in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.
In 1988 Fred sold his business to Scaffolding Great Britain, and remained with Knight Supply, through several subsequent acquisitions as an executive and sales manager. Fred was an authority in the industrial safety supply business. His passion, work ethic, and unparalleled knowledge of the industry gained Fred business contracts throughout his career. But it was his ability to communicate and connect with people that gained him life-long friends in the industry.
In 1993 Fred married the love of his live, his wife Vidal. Through twenty years of marriage, they were inseparable, and never had a fight. Fred loved his family and enjoyed living life. He was a hunter and fisherman, as well as a golfer. He enjoyed spending time with his children, his wife, and his extended family and friends. He especially loved the time he spent with his Maine Coon cats Hank and Jesse. He was an avid poker player, enjoyed grilling, and watching sports with his children.
Fred was preceded in death by his father and mother, his uncle David Shaw, his brother Rahmann Knight, and his step-son Leslie Brewer. He is survived by his wife, Vidal Knight, his children Jeannie Brewer Schneider, Frederic Daniel Knight, and Amanda Knight Pritchett, sons-in-law Craig Schneider and Bill Pritchett, daughter-in-law Lyndsey Knight, his grandchildren Madeline Britton Schneider, Andrew Thomas Schneider, Gwendolyn Leigh Knight, and Coleman Frederic Knight, his sister Dianne Wright and her husband Ernie, his nieces Jennifer Wright Blanton, Suzanne Wright Lowrance, Rachel Knight, and his nephew Christopher Knight.
Fred battled gastric cancer for the last three years of his life. Even in sickness, Fred's positive attitude and humor were never absent. Through this journey, there have been many individuals who helped Fred, and gave him and his family support and love. His enduring message to all was to "enjoy life!"
The Knight family would like to thank all the wonderful caregivers and staff at MD Anderson Hospital including Fred's team of doctors and nurses: Dr. Jaffer Ajani, Dr. Keith Fournier, and Jackie Baker, RN who provided tremendous care and treatment options. In his last days, Fred convalesced in the Palliative Care Units of MD Anderson as well as the VA Hospital. The Knight family thanks those doctors, nurses, and support staff for their efforts at making Fred's final days as comfortable and dignified as possible.
The Knight family would also like to especially thank the following individuals/families for their assistance, support, love and compassion during this especially difficult journey: The Bush Family, David Starkey, George Franciscus, Hank and Gloria Shoop, and The Deem Family.
A viewing will be held on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. Funeral services will be held on Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 9:30am at Forest Park East Funeral Home, with internment to follow at Forest Park East Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, Fred asked, and his family asks, that donations be made to the Wounded Warrior Project and/or Fisher House to assist wounded and disabled veterans.