Robert C. "Bob" Knight, 93, of South Windsor and formerly of Manchester, beloved husband of Marjorie (Holt) Knight, died peacefully Friday, March 14, 2014, at home with his family at his side.
He was born Dec. 24, 1920, in Providence, R.I., son of the late Joseph E. and Ann Walker (Crandall) Knight. Bob graduated from Attleboro High School in Attleboro, Mass., with his yearbook listing his goal as "become an aviator." After high school he studied aeronautical science at Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics, earning a degree. After graduation he was hired by Pratt & Whitney, to work in the test area, testing an engine type that would later power the fighter aircraft that he flew. When World War II
and the Army
Air Corps beckoned, he left Pratt & Whitney to serve his country and to realize his goal, becoming a pilot. Bob was a U.S. Army Air Corps veteran having served as a fighter pilot in combat during World War II in the Pacific. He served with the 310th Fighter Squadron, 58th Fighter group, flying the P-47D Thunderbolt on combat missions across the Pacific, including Okinawa and the Philippines. After the Japanese surrender, he served with the 40th Fighter Squadron, 35th Fighter Group as part of the U.S. occupation forces in Japan, flying the P-51 Mustang on patrol missions.
Upon his return from World War II, he and Marjorie joyfully resumed the married life they had dreamed of and have remained devoted to each other ever since. After Word War II, Bob also resumed a career with Pratt & Whitney Aircraft that lasted more than 40 years, retiring in 1980. At different times during Bob's career, he served as field service engineer for airline and military customers, product support engineering manager, and even played a role supporting NASA when Pratt & Whitney was providing fuel cells for Gemini and Apollo spacecraft. Because of Bob's experiences as an aviator, he was passionate about supporting the customers who rely on Pratt & Whitney's products. Bob will be remembered by all those he managed as a kind and considerate person.
Bob was a longtime member of South United Methodist Church in Manchester, and along with his wife, Marjorie, was very active in contributing his time and energies to the life of the church. After retirement, Bob became an accomplished woodcarver. Many friends and family will always treasure the yearly unique Santa Claus carvings he created and replicated many times. He distributed one each Christmas to family members for over 20 years. In spite of his busy schedule, Bob always found time to be a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.
In addition to his loving wife, he is survived by his son Robert C. Knight Jr. and his wife, Jane, of Manchester; two daughters, Susan Chapin and her husband, Steve, of Liberty, Maine, Janet Hussey and her husband, John, of Londonderry, N.H.; six grandchildren, Amanda Chapin Costello and her husband, Andrew, of Milo, Maine, Benjamin Kjellman-Chapin and his wife, Monica, of Dovre, Norway, Sean Hussey and his wife, Mandy, of Rochester, N.H., Bryan Hussey and his wife, Brie, of Londonderry, N.H., Quincy Knight and her husband, Derik Breiner, of Gunnison, Colo., and Jordan Knight of Manchester; three great-grandchildren, Lillian Costello of Milo, Maine, and Colin and Adria Hussey of Londonderry, N.H. Bob was predeceased by his sister, Jacqueline Knight, who passed away in childhood.
Calling hours will be held Wednesday, March 26, 2014, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Holmes Funeral Home, 400 Main St., Manchester.
Funeral services will be held Thursday, March 27, at 11 a.m. at South United Methodist Church, 1226 Main St., Manchester.
Graveside services will be held Friday, March 28, at 2 p.m. in the Westminster section of the East Cemetery, Manchester.
Memorial donations may be made to Masonic Home Health & Hospice, 111 Founders Plaza, Suite 200, East Hartford, CT 06108; or to Heifer International, P.O. Box 8058, Little Rock, AR 72203-8058.
To sign the online register book, go towww.holmes-watkinsfuneralhomes.com