Thomas Keith Knight, 69, passed away March 14, 2014, at Twin Cities Hospital from complications related to Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Defi-ciency, a genetically inherited lung disease. Tom was born Aug. 5, 1944, in Breckenridge, Minn., and served 21 years in the U.S. Air Force as a cryptographic maintenance technician. His assignments included Nebraska, Vietnam, California, Hawaii, Wyoming, Turkey, Germany and Florida. He retired as a master sergeant at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., in August 1986. After his military retirement, Tom worked in civil service at Site C-6 until his health began to decline.
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Tom met his wife, Rita, while assigned at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., and they were married in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., on June 5, 1969. To this union a daughter, Dana, of San Francisco, and a son, Brian, of Niceville, were born. Tom is also survived by his mother, Mary Knight; brothers, Robert and James all of Ft. Lauderdale; a nephew, Benjamin (wife, Amanda) Edlun of Seattle, Wash.; and a niece, Mary Menut (Cooper, son) of Ft. Lauderdale. Also surviving are his godchildren, Sharalyn Clause and Craig Zapata of Niceville; and special friend, Scott Lewis of Mt. Carroll, Ill. Tom was preceded in death by his grandmother, Nathalia Wentworth; aunt, Natalie Delano; brother, William Jo-seph; and sister, Natalie Edlun.
Tom was a very caring person who was always ready to pitch in to help a worthy cause or a person in need. He was deeply involved in band parent activities during his children's years at Lewis and Niceville High Schools. He was an active member and contributed in various roles at St. Paul Lutheran Church until his health failed. Those close to him will remember Tom's wicked sense of humor and his love of playing cards.
There will be a celebration of his life at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Niceville on Saturday, March 22, at 2:30 p.m. His ashes will be com-mitted to the St. Paul Columbarium following the service. Memorials may be made to the Alpha One Foundation, St. Paul Lutheran Church or Covenant Hospice.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to Dr. Wyndal Blankenship and staff and the nurses at Twin Cities Hospital for the compassionate care provided Tom over the course of his illness.
Published Online in Northwest Florida Daily News on Mar. 19, 2014