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March 29, 1926-March 11, 2009

A long-standing resident of Charlotte passed away Wednesday, March 11, 2009 at Levine and Dickson Hospice House in Huntersville, after a courageous battle against cancer over a lengthy period of years.

The funeral will be held at Christ Lutheran Church, 4545 Providence Road, Charlotte, today at 3 p.m. His pastor, the Rev. Dr. Scott Suskovic and the Rev. Troy Ehlke will officiate. A private family committal service and burial will follow at a local cemetery.

Mr. McKnight was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and friend who used his talents in the church and community throughout life. He was born March 29, 1926, in Rowan County, N.C., son of the late Carl S. and Eula C. McKnight.

Mr. McKnight graduated from China Grove High School in 1942; from Warren Wilson College in 1944 as President of his graduating class; and from North Carolina State University in 1950 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering as a member of the Honorary Engineering Fraternity, Theta Tau. He served honorably in the U.S. Army during World War II from 1944 to 1946 in the Pacific Theater.

His professional career culminated in his founding of McKnight Engineers, Inc., a mechanical consulting engineering firm, in 1967 where he served as president for 25 years and worked as a consultant for his firm for approximately 25 more years after retiring as the president. With his leadership and the firm's growth, his company is now known as McKnight Smith Ward Griffin Engineers Inc. The firm provided engineering services for many notable commercial, industrial, residential, and educational projects.

As a professional engineer, Mr. McKnight was licensed to practice in 13 states and also was a member of the National Council of Engineering Examiners. He was an active member of the Professional Engineers of North Carolina and the National Society of Professional Engineers for over 50 years. He served the PENC as President, as a National Director, as Chairman of the Publications and Advertising Committee, and Chairman of the Industrial Relations Committee. He also served on the PENC Board of Governors, the Constitution and By-Laws Committee, the Ethics Steering Committee, and the 50th Anniversary Celebration Committee.

Mr. McKnight served as President of the Board of Governors for the Practice Division of PENC/PEPP, as President of the Southeastern Region of NSPE/PEPP, on the Board of Governors of NSPE/PEPP, representing North Carolina at several national meetings and as a member of the Master Spec Board of Governors. He also served on the Mecklenburg County Advisory Committee for two terms.

A life-long active member of the Lutheran Church in America, now the ELCA, he actively served his local congregation as a long-time founding member of Christ Lutheran Church, Charlotte, where he served as a Sunday school teacher, Chairman of the Building and Grounds Committee, President of the Congregational Lutheran Men, a many-term member of the Church Council, Vice President of the Congregation, a Delegate to many North Carolina Synod Conventions, Chairman of the Building Committee for the 1972 Sanctuary Building, the Pipe Organ Committee, the Call Committee for one Senior Pastor and one Associate Pastor, and as Steward of the Mutual Ministry. At various times, he served on most of the standing committees of the Church. Perhaps what gave him his incredible combination of energy, kindness, and compassion for others was his life-long dedication to the Christian faith.

On the North Carolina Lutheran Synod level, Mr. McKnight served two terms on the Executive Board, as Chairman of the Property and Personnel Committee for six years, Chairman of the Finance Committee for three years, and Delegate to three National Church Conventions, as a member of three Study Commissions on Social Statements for the church and on the Merger Committee for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He served as President of the North Carolina Lutheran Men and on the Executive Committee for 30 years. He was a long-time member of the Lutheran Home Mission Foundation Board of Trustees serving as president for 12 years. The Home Mission Foundation manages the Loan and Gift Fund, and the Mary Ona Wolf Scholarship Fund. He was the leader of the committee that raised over $1 million for the LLST Professorship Chair Endowment Fund for the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, S.C. Mr. McKnight served on the Lutheridge-Lutherock Min-istry Board for 23 years as chairman of the Property Committee, and served on the 50th Anniversary Celebration Committee.

He served two terms on the Alumni Board of Directors for Warren Wilson College and on the Board of Visitors.

Mr. McKnight served on the North Carolina State University Engineering Advisory Committee and NCSU Student Aid Association Board of Directors.

The 23 years, he served as Chairman of the Mecklenburg County Wolfpack Club and the 10 years he served as Chairman of Region Nine of the Wolfpack Club were a highlight of his life. He was a long-time active member of the NCSU Alumni Association.

In addition to his dedication to family, church, and profession, Mr. McKnight displayed sincere interest in his fellow man within the community.

For 12 years, he served his community with the Sharon Volunteer Fire Department serving as Lieutenant-in-Charge of First Aid for six of those years. A few of his hobbies included watching and going to ball games, going fishing with his daughter, Anne, especially at the Outer Banks, playing bridge and gardening. Time spent playing with his three grandsons was always treasured.

Some of the honors Mr. McKnight received included the Doctor of Humane Letters from Lenoir-Rhyne College in 1982; Distinguished Alumnus Award from Warren Wilson College in 1991; Harold F. McKnight Scholarship Endowment from WWC; PENC Distinguished Service Award, awarded twice in 1992 and 2005; Life Member of PENC, NSPE, and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers; Honorary Life Membership in North Carolina Lutheran Men; the Champion and J. W. Abernathy Awards from the NCSU Student Aid Association; Fellow Member of PENC and NSPE Charter Class; the Pavilion at Camp Lutherock, a ministry of the N.C. Synod, ELCA, named in his honor; the Harold F. McKnight Endowment, and the NCSU Wolfpack Club, 2006. Mr. and Mrs. McKnight were also members of the College Founders and Heritage Society.

Mr. McKnight is survived by his beloved wife and help-mate of 58 years, Martha, and was preceded in death by his son, the Honorable Harold Brent McKnight, in 2004. He is also survived by his daughter, Martha Anne McKnight, M.D.; and his daughter-in-law, Beth Herion McKnight; his three grandsons, Brent McKnight Jr., Matthew McKnight and Stephen McKnight; and a very large number of extended family members and friends.

The family expresses their sincerest thanks and appreciation to all of those who have provided thoughtful and excellent care for Mr. McKnight and those who have made his life so meaningful.

The family received friends from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. Saturday at J.B. Tallent Funeral Service, 1937 Sharon Amity Road, Charlotte.

Memorial gifts may be directed to the Harold Francis McKnight Memorial Fund at Christ Lutheran Church for the Music Department and Children's Departments, 4519 Providence Road, Charlotte, N.C. 28226; Home Mission Foundation, c/o NCLMM, 1988 Lutheran Synod Drive, Salisbury, N.C. 28144; Carolinas Medical Center Blumenthal Cancer Center, 1025 Morehead Medical Drive, Suite 600, Charlotte, N.C. 28204

Online condolences may be shared through www.tallentfuneralservice.com

J. B. Tallent Funeral Service is serving the family of Harold F. McKnight.


Published in Obituaries on March 15, 2009 10:24 AM