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James (Jim) McKnight of Gladstone, MI peacefully passed away October 29, 2021 at his home in Pisgah Forest NC comforted by his special friend Sandy Rickards.
Jim was born December 17, 1938 in Gladstone MI. He was a true and proud “Yooper,” enjoying everything the Upper Peninsula had to offer; hunting, (ice) fishing, boating and youth sports.
Jim’s service to his country and community began at an early age and lasted most of his life. Not long after high school he enlisted in the US Army, and while stationed in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, he met the former Dorothy Ross, his wife of nearly 57 years. She preceded him in death.
Soon after separating from the Army, he became a member of the Gladstone Police force, continuing as the force transitioned to Gladstone Public Safety. He serviced as an officer from March 1967 until he retired in January 1994. He was twice elected to the Gladstone City Commission serving from April 1994 to 1997 and again from April 2001 to 2009. He was also a longstanding member of the American Legion.
Jim was always known as a very fair police officer and always put a person’s safety first, recognizing the people he encountered as his neighbors often letting them off with a warning or an escort home. He loved the City of Gladstone and was instrumental in bringing the fishing pier and veterans memorial to fruition. He supported youth sports and for numerous years coached boy’s and girl’s baseball.
Jim had many talents that were sometimes understated. He was a self-taught musician who enjoyed sharing his talents with his grand & great grandchildren and friends. He enjoyed performing with the barbershop quartette and could often be found singing and playing his guitar for residents at local senior centers and nursing homes.
He cherished family game night and was notorious for “Jim’s version of the rules” that miraculously changed as the games progressed. Much to the chagrin of the rest of the family, he loved classic movies specifically war and Western (cowboy) movies. One thing his family will sorely miss are his famous Sunday breakfasts. He had a passion for anything outdoors, especially hunting and fishing.
Jim is survived by his four attentive children, Lorraine of Kalamazoo, Gerald (LeVette) of O’Fallon, IL, Daniel of Madison, WI and Elaine of Gladstone and his daughter-in-law, Amy McKnight of Madison, WI; five grandchildren Elijah (Treana) Riley, Bethany (Andrew) McKnight-Kamau, Haley, Donovan and James McKnight and five great grandchildren Simone, Malachi, Elijah Jr, Eliana and Emmanuelle. His surviving siblings include sisters Clara Moser, Escanaba and Frances McCulley of Las Vegas, NV and brothers Richard McKnight of Mims, FL and Elmer (Dorothy) MacKnight of Racine, WI, and very special, compassionate friend, Sandy Rickards as well as a host of extended family and friends whom he cherished.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Dorothy; his parents, Elisher and Laurencia; his brothers, Arnold Eagle and Leroy McKnight and his sisters, Marion Leisenring, Patricia Irving and Doris Scheuren.
A quote very fitting for Jim is “Do you not know that a man is not dead while his name is still Spoken” per Terry Pratchett. His presence is gone but his memories are life lessons to us all.
A celebration of life will be held at Skradski Family Funeral home in Gladstone on December 18th 2021 with visitation from 11:00-1:00. Military Rites and a memorial service will follow from 1:00-2:00. A repass will be held immediately after at the Gladstone Legion. The family requests in lieu of flowers, that contributions be made to Tunnels 2 Towers www.T2T.org.
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