Robert F. Knight, 82, of Punta Gorda, Florida died peacefully on June 23, 2020. Bob was the adoring father of Ashley Knight (Sherri Farris) of Chicago and Shannon Knight (Dean Schmitt) of Punta Gorda. He was the proud grandfather of Tyler Kleeman (Amanda) of Winnetka, Illinois, Blaire Knight-Graves (Nick Robinson) of Portland, Maine, and Benjamin Kleeman (Bailey Sablock) of Chicago.
Bob was born in Horton, Kansas on December 9, 1937 to John and Freda Knight. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brothers Howard, Donald, and Jack. Bob married Brooke Montgomery (now Miller) and although the union was not permanent, they made a strong co-parenting team and remained friends.
Bob was an athlete, coach, teacher, and friend. Growing up in a small Kansas town, the youngest of four sons, he excelled in sports. He was inducted into the Ottawa University Hall of Fame in 1990. His list of accomplishments included holding school records with some rankings still in place to this day, winning conference championships in three sports, and achieving a third-place finish in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles at the national NAIA meet. His senior year he was approached to play a fourth sport by the New York Yankees upon his graduation, but as a first-generation college student, he didn’t have the funds to travel to New York.
He coached and taught high school in Overbrook, Clay Center, and Herrington, Kansas, taking two basketball teams to state before moving to Wood River, Illinois to serve as head basketball coach. He also coached football, track, and golf. He retired in 1996, and spent his remaining years enjoying golf. He talked about his golfing friends up until his last weeks, many of whom remember when he landed a 210-yard hole-in-one. He loved spending time with his family, and he enjoyed the warm Florida sun after moving in 2015. His family described him as resolute, ethical, honorable, reliable, and trustworthy. A friend, “as one of the most principled men I had ever met.”
Services were private. The family requests that donations be made to The Association for Frontal Temporal Degeneration at www.theaftd.org or Tidewell Hospice at www.tidewellhospice.org.
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