A memorial service was held at 3 p.m., Sunday, June 8, at Clarkesville Baptist Church.
Born Feb. 19, 1929, in a log cabin on his home place, Pinedale, he was a son of Eula Evelyn Gibbs Knight and Floyd Sweet Knight.
He and his 10 siblings grew up living, playing, worshipping God and working in the peaceful woods of Northeast Georgia. They stayed active climbing trees, jumping the creek, cutting firewood and completing other chores for their devoted mother and artist father.
Home schooled decades before it became popular, John was ready to head out into the big world at the tender age of 17. So in 1947, before he was even eligible, he joined the Army and served in Japan during reconstruction following World War II. He was always pleased to say he saluted Gen. [George] MacArthur during his time there.
Back in his hometown of Clarkesville after the war, he met and married his sweetheart, the late Betty Ruth Christian, while attending Piedmont College. They had five children, Emily, Joan, Paul, Carol and Barb. John and Betty’s family has since grown to include 10 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. John felt great responsibility to care for his family and, as a result, he worked diligently for 38 years as a salesman for Edward Don & Company, which is based in Chicago. He was held in high esteem by both his employer and his customers for his honesty and loyalty. He became the top salesman outside of the Chicago area.
An example of John’s sweet nature is that he made a point of acquainting himself with all of the people associated with establishments he sold to, from the janitors to the CEOs.
John was a man of nature. He loved walking in any form – from hiking the trails of Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee, to strolling the sidewalks of Demorest. During his lifetime, he day hiked 200 miles of the Appalachian Trail, carrying his little can of Vienna Sausage and a bottle of water for lunch-on-a-log. He had a long-standing tradition of hiking up Mount Pinnacle every year around his birthday. A peaceful sunset, the beautiful phases of the moon, the constellations of the nighttime sky, the fresh smell of the woods and sitting by a blazing fire pleased John. He felt close to God on top of Black Rock State Park and at Tallulah Falls. He also cherished spending time with his large and loving family, both immediate and extended.
Always willing to help others, John was a kind and gentle soul. He donated blood to the American Red Cross for years, supported a variety of Christian charities and stopped many times on the road to help stranded drivers. His faith in God was unshakeable and he walked through life with Jesus in his heart. John was a beloved lifelong member of Clarkesville Baptist Church and he drew strength from his extensive church family. All who knew him will hold dear in their hearts the many wonderful memories of this gentle man who touched each of our lives in so many different and loving ways.
Memorials may be made to either Hospice of NGMC Medical Center Auxiliary Inc., 743 Spring St., Gainesville, GA 30501 (nghs.com/lovelight); or Samaritan’s Purse, P.O. Box 3000, Boone, N.C. 28607.
Arrangements are in the care of Whitfield Funeral Home, North Chapel, Demorest.
The Northeast Georgian
Wednesday, June 11, 2014