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Robert (Bob) Knight was born in Fairmont, WV on April 18, 1943 and died in Morgantown, WV from complications of the COVID-19 virus on December 11, 2020. Bob is survived by his loving wife of 54 years Lurene (Laurie), his son Terry Knight of Aurora, IL and his daughter Karen Wendeler of New Castle, DE and his sister, Carol Gneckow of Helena, MT.
Bob graduated from Streator High School in 1961 and graduated from NIU in 1966 with a B.S. in Education. He received his M.S. in Administration in 1971 from NIU. He also received his CIC Degree in 1979. Bob was involved with scouting from the time he was a Cub Scout until he was in Boy Scouts in high school. He earned the Order of the Arrow and Eagle Scout Award. As an adult, he was leader of the Explorer Post, Cub Scout Master and Boy Scout Master. After college, Bob taught industrial arts and diversified occupations at Sandwich High School from 1966-1973.
In 1973, Bob began selling life and health insurance. From 1974 to 1983, Bob worked for Caywood & Assoc. as an independent agent selling all lines of insurance. In January 1984, Bob opened his own agency known as Knight Insurance Agency. Bob was often in demand to teach insurance courses, lead seminars, and as a speaker, He was highly respected because of his integrity, character and sincerity. He served on the advisory boards of several companies and sold insurance for many independent companies.
Bob’s other passion was his love of trains. It began as a young child watching steam engines switching in the B&O yards in NJ. It progressed to building a train layout in junior high. The main line of the Santa Fe went through Streator so Bob was able to do a lot of train watching during the time he lived in Streator. His love of trains never wavered even during his college years. After college, Bob built a small layout and on a vacation to Colorado, we rode the Durango Silverton for the first time. It wasn't until 1998, that Bob found out about railcars and NARCOA. It was the beginning of a love story that lasted until his death in December. He loved all aspects of the hobby. Most of all, he was happiest when operating one of our motorcars on an excursion. Bob served as area director for many years and as NARCOA president from 2015 until 2019. As president, Bob formalized our participation in Toys for Tots events in the fall. He obtained membership for NARCOA in the two professional short line associations and brought an exhibit to the annual meetings of these organizations. Bob's decisive and innovative leadership of NARCOA has continued to make it thrive.
Bob was a long time member of the Federated Church where he was an ordained elder of the Presbyterian Church. He also served on many committees where he would end up being chairman. At the time of his death, Bob was serving as chairman of the Pastoral Search Committee.
Bob became a Mason in Meteor Lodge No. 283 on April 2, 1968. He received his 50 year pin in July of 2018.
There will be a private family graveside service on Saturday, April 10. It will be followed by an invitation only celebration of Bob's life. It will be held at the Federated Church. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be given to the Federated Church and the Open Door.
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