John F. McKnight Jr.
John F. McKnight Jr. was born to John F. and Lyda McKnight on June 13, 1925, in Michigan City, Indiana. He died at home with his wife at his side on December 21, 2013 in Santa Barbara, California.
Jack was raised in St. Louis, Missouri, and started his college education at Washington University in St. Louis, where he pledged Sigma Chi. After his freshman year in college, Jack was drafted in the United States Army and served in World War II in New Guinea and the Philippines. Upon being discharged, he returned to St. Louis to complete his education with a Business degree from Washington University.
After college, Jack worked in the St. Louis and then moved to Michigan and began his aerospace career with Kaiser. While living in Michigan, he met Mary Wagner, whom he married in 1953. After getting married, Jack and Mary moved to Seattle, Washington where Jack worked for Boeing. In 1963 Jack was transferred with the Boeing Company to Santa Maria, California where he worked at Vandenberg Air Force Base, eventually moving to Santa Barbara, California, which he called home for 51 years. Jack held a top secret security clearance for over 40 years and worked on most of the important aerospace programs for the United States: the Predator Drone program from the inception, Trident Submarine, SLG 32 anti ship missile program, Abrams Tank, Striker Light Armored Attack Vehicle, various missile programs including the Tomahawk Cruise Missile and the Space Shuttle to name a few. During his career Dad worked for Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Motorola, Litton Guidance Systems, and Delco Electronics. Jack excelled in contracts, negotiations, and procurement and worked both in the US and internationally during his long career; he retired in 1996 at the age of 71.
Dad was an expert rifleman and trap shooting enthusiast and spent many weekend afternoons at the Winchester Canyon Gun Club, where he served on the board of directors. He was also involved with his children’s activities whether it was the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, his daughter’s volleyball or his son’s sports, Dad was an engaged and a present father, always available for his children. Dad was very athletic himself, a tough and rugged individual who enjoyed tennis, skiing, fishing, hunting, and was always willing to help others with anything that needed to be done. He literally could fix anything. In addition to family and sports, Dad was a dedicated volunteer for SCORE and enjoyed growing roses and participating in the events with the Santa Barbara Rose Society. He also looked forward to his Monday afternoon Bible study with the neighbors.
Jack is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, his two children, John F. Mc Knight III, ( his wife Anastasia, ) daughter Susan E. McKnight of Albuquerque, New Mexico, three adorable granddaughters, Jayde Trabold, Devon McKnight, Sheridan McKnight and step granddaughter, Daria Mirzoyants McKnight, nieces & nephews and his orange tabby cat, Mr. Whiskers.
The McKnight family would like to express our gratitude to Jack’s very dedicated medical team that helped him survive Leukemia for 20 plus years. A special thanks goes to Dr. Eric Schroeder, Dr. Julie Taguchi, Dr. Steven Young and Dr. Harris Gelberg. We would also like to recognize the loving care he received from Elisabeth Swede, RN of Visiting Nurse and Hospice Care along with the his caregivers and long time family friends Yolanda, Gerardo, Jose, Rosa & Vicki. The family would also like to thank our friends of five decades for their kindness, friendship and love. We are blessed to have you in our lives.
A celebration of life in Jack’s honor will be held at the First Presbyterian Church, in the Anderson Lounge, on Saturday, January 18th, 2014 from 2-4pm, If you would like to remember Jack, in lieu of flowers a donation may be made to Visiting Nurses and Hospice of Santa Barbara or the charity of your choice.
John F. McKnight Jr.