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John William Knight
Service: November 5, 2016 (Saturday) at 11:00 a.m.
Location: Grace United Methodist Church in Gaithersburg, MD

On October 24, 2016, John William Knight of Germantown, Maryland passed away at home with his family by his side.  John leaves behind his loving wife of 53 years, Loretta E. Knight (the former Clerk of the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, MD); his 3 children: John Henry Knight, George Bradley Knight and Janet Knight Lee; his 3 children-in-law: Dee W. Knight, Kathryn G. Knight and Kevin P. Lee; his 5 grandchildren: John Edward Knight, Audrey Vernon Lee, Caroline Emily Knight, Caitlyn Kelliher Lee and Ella Margaret Knight; and his younger sister Linda Sandoe.

John was born on December 7, 1935 in Washington, DC to John Edward Knight and Audrey Norbury Knight.  He graduated from Calvin Coolidge High School in 1954 and then enlisted in the United States Navy.  He was a “Tin Can Sailor” serving on the Destroyer U.S.S. O’Hare DDR-889 from 1955 – 1958.  Thereafter, with the support of the GI Bill, he graduated with Honors from the University of Maryland in 1962 with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering.  He was a member of the engineering honor societies Tau Beta Pi and Eta Kappa Nu.

He worked as an assistant engineering professor at Howard University before beginning his 30 plus year career as a scientist and engineer for several U.S. Department of Defense contractor firms.  He was particularly proud of his work on the Tomahawk Cruise Missile.

John’s passions included Grace United Methodist Church in Gaithersburg, MD, where he was a member for over 45 years.  At Grace he served as chairman of the board of trustees, head usher and former chairman of the administrative board.  He was also past president of the Montgomery Central Derwood Lions Club and recipient of the Lions Club’s highest award – the Melvin Jones Fellow for dedicated humanitarian services.  In addition, he was a former assistant scoutmaster in the Boy Scouts and three times a big brother for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.  He was proud to be from the University of Maryland and intensely followed the Terps’ basketball and football teams.  He loved the Chesapeake Bay and its bounty, especially blue crabs, oysters and rockfish.

John loved fishing (he was a regular at Fletcher’s Boat House on the Potomac River), gardening (he is famous for his world class asparagus and tomatoes), golf (not as successful as his gardening…), wood working (he was confident that an elephant could stand on the coffee tables he made), and writing poetry (he penned over a hundred poems, many of which are published).

Quite simply, John was a bright light in this world.  He cared deeply for people and would always help a friend in need, even if he barely knew them.  He strongly believed that we are stewards for the Earth and have the responsibility to protect and preserve its creatures and natural beauty.  He always left a place better than when he arrived.  His light burned brightly for 80 years and we were all lucky to have felt some of his warmth.  God bless him.

There will be a memorial service for John on Saturday, November 5, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. at Grace United Methodist Church in Gaithersburg, MD.  In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his name to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation at   

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DeVol Funeral Home