HSU Mourns the Loss of Dr. George W. Knight

November 5, 2018 Grace Mitchell, Staff Writer

HSU’s beloved former professor, Dr. George W. Knight, 81, went to meet his Lord on Saturday, Nov. 3. A celebration of his life will be held Wednesday, Nov. 7, 11:00 a.m. at First Baptist Church, Abilene.

Graveside services with the family will be held prior. Services are under the direction of The Hamil Family Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to his heart of service, Meals on Wheels Plus Inc., 717 N. 10th St. Abilene, TX 79601. Online condolences may be left at hamilfamilyfuneralhome.com.

“Dr. George Knight was a beloved colleague, mentor to young scholars, and master teacher,” said Dr. Bob Ellis, Dean of Logsdon Seminary and the Logsdon School of Theology. “He was a great churchman who also knew that faithfulness to the word required rigorous study in order to plumb the depths of scripture. When I think of Dr. Knight, the phrase ‘compassionate excellence’ comes to mind. He demanded excellence of himself, and called for it from his students, but always with deep compassion.”

George W. Knight was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Sept. 15, 1937, to George and Helen Knight. He graduated from Baton Rouge High School. George met the love of his life, Joan Richard Knight, at Louisiana College, and they married Aug. 30, 1958. They brought up three daughters during their 60 years of marriage. Enjoying time with family was one of George’s favorite things to do.

Braxton Feemster with his brother Zandon and Dr. Knight

“My grandfather, Dr. Knight, is a scholar-servant of the Lord,” said Braxton Knight Feemster ’19. “I will always remember him as a teacher, an embodiment of forbearance, and a real-life Indiana Jones. For many years, he brought to HSU and Logsdon a great deal of depth in the realm of archaeological and biblical scholarship. I know some still remember him as a colleague, professor, and friend. He has been well-loved in Abilene and at HSU, and I know he is being loved even more by our Lord today.”

Dr. Knight came to Hardin-Simmons University in 1976 from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where he had served as instructor of New Testament and Greek. He was subsequently appointed as the first Cook-Derrick Chair of Bible and Greek at HSU. He established HSU’s archaeology program and led more than 20 archaeological expeditions to Israel and Greece, eventually becoming a field supervisor. Dr. Knight is the namesake for the George Knight Lectures, which welcomes biblical scholars to campus every fall.

Dr. Knight held degrees from Louisiana College, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he received his Ph.D. in 1973. He distinguished himself in his commitment to teaching and scholarship and his contribution to the larger life of the University and of the community in which he lived. Dr. Knight retired from the HSU faculty in 2002.

Helping people was one of George’s passions and he enjoyed serving in many ways. He and his wife Joan were members of First Baptist Church and he taught his Sunday School class for over 30 years. George also served churches in the Big Country area as guest preacher, Bible study teacher and interim pastor. Avoca Baptist Church was a “home away from home,” as he served as a long-term interim pastor and enjoyed many close friendships.

He was an active, devoted and dedicated member of the board of Meals on Wheels, instrumental in the growth and large increase in number of needy seniors served. George provided strong leadership in various capacities for 40 years, most recently as the current treasurer. George enjoyed his Kiwanis membership and participated in the pancake supper and other programs for many years.

George enjoyed many different adventures in life; some of the highlights are driving a 1931 Pierce Arrow car with his friend Larry Rister across the country in the Great Race in 1989, racing cars, watching NASCAR racing, speaking and reading 10 languages, discovering items at the site of the City of Capernaum, fishing with James Shields, and cooking Cajun food. He also had great interest in music, ham radio, and archaeology.

His eyes lit up when he saw his two great-grandsons, Watson and Walker. His seven grandchildren were his joy, and he was proud of his three daughters. George is survived by his wife, Joan, his three daughters, Karen Barlow and her husband Jim, Kathy Welch and her husband David, and Luellen Lawler and her husband Phillip. Grandchildren include Nicolas McMinn and his wife Kenleigh, Shelby Beal and her husband Hunter, Braxton Feemster, Zandon Feemster, Caden Welch, Sydney Lawler, and Ryley Lawler. Great-grandsons include Watson and Walker Beal. He is also survived by his sister, Rebecca Tromater, her husband Ray, their daughters, his sister-in-law Linda Keller, her husband Wayne, and their son and daughter.