VICK KNIGHT Canyon Lake icon Vick Knight was known by many names -Turtle Man, Maya Man, Renaissance Man, teacher, raconteur, scholar, little old winemaker, loyal Trojan, naturalist, Santa Claus, amateur herpetologist, author, public servant and, more importantly, husband, father, grandfather and friend. Dr. Vick Knight, Jr. passed away on December 5, 2013 surrounded by his large and loving family. He was 85 years old. An author/educator, he was born on April 6, 1928, in Lakewood, Ohio, and came with his family to California in 1936. A graduate of Hollywood High School, he enlisted in the United States Navy
in World War II
and served with the Armed Forces Radio Service. He was recipient of the Naval Commendation, the WWII Victory, American Campaign Medal and Naval Reserve Medal. He attended the University of Southern California on the GI Bill and served his senior year as student body president of the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, the University's largest sub-division. In 2008, in honor of his 80th birthday, he was named "a distinguished member of the Trojan family" for his dedicated and tireless service as an educator. Vick's career in California schools dates to 1952 when he graduated from USC and began teaching a 6th grade class in Pico Rivera. In later years, he became a principal, superintendent and university dean. He taught for Pepperdine and La Verne Colleges, was honored by Whittier College with its "Distinguished Citizen Award." In 1959, he was recognized by the State Jr. Chamber as "One of California's Five Outstanding Young Men" at a Palo Alto ceremony. He completed his Doctorate in Education at California Coast University. A lifelong learner, he continued studying the ancient Maya civilization with expeditions to numerous Central American sites with UCLA's Institute for Archeology, Harvard University and the Albany campus of the State University of New York. Following his early retirement, he served for 10 years as the Director of Development for Children's Hospital of Orange County and made his home in Canyon Lake since 1981. Vick was the author of numerous texts and educational aids and served 13 years on the Lake Elsinore Unified District Board of Trustees. He was elected to the Riverside County School School Board in 2004 and later served as its president, retiring in 2012. Dr. Knight was founding president of the Friends of the Library of the University of California Irvine campus, Legion of Merit member of Kiwanis International, a member of USC's Skull & Dagger Association, Phi Sigma Kappa Fraternity, Theta Nu Epsilon and E Clampus Vitus. An amateur winemaker, he won the sweepstakes "Best of Show" ribbon at the 1987 California State Fair for his homemade cherry wine. A novice banjo-player, his other interests included the films of W. C. Fields, Native American cultures, classic Greek history, turtles and tortoises. He was elected to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) in 1976 and presented the Bronze Pelican Award by the Boy Scouts of America in 1981. A Master Freemason, he received the prestigious Hiram Award from his Menifee Valley Lodge No. 289 in 2006. He was Charter president of the Inland Empire chapter of the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, and named Orange County "Educator of the Year" upon his retirement. He was elected to the Riverside County "Education Hall of Fame" in 2000, and the "Vick Knight Community Library" at Lakeside High School was dedicated in 2005. He had been honored as "Citizen of the Year" by both the Canyon Lake and Lake Elsinore Chambers of Commerce. He leaves behind Carolyn Kingsmill Knight, his wife of 32 years, award-winning journalist
and consumer advocate, as well as son Stephen Foster Knight and daughters, Mary Ann Frauenthal, Kathy Blakemore and Meri Faria. His sisters Virginia Lucinda Knight and the Rev. Nancy Vernon Kelly additionally survive him. His grandchildren are Molly Knight, Dr. Virginia Frauenthal, Sarah Knight, Devin Marine Knight, Carlee Blakemore, Hannah Faria, Skylar Faria, Jr., and Madison Faria. His parents, Janice and Vick Knight, Sr., preceded him in death. A celebration of life will be held December 28 at 11 a.m. at the Canyon Lake Community Church, 30515 Railroad Canyon Road, in Canyon Lake. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to the Vick Knight Community Library, 32593 Riverside Drive, Lake Elsinore, California 92530.