Richard Curtis Knight, 81

Published 9:54 am Thursday, August 4, 2016

Richard Curtis Knight, 81

Richard Curtis Knight, 81

Richard “Dick” Curtis Knight, age 81, of Rock Springs, Wisconsin, passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016, following a long illness.

Richard was born on Aug. 31, 1934, in Rockford, Illinois to Roscoe and Charlotte (Williams) Knight.

Richard graduated from Rockford West High School in 1952 the same year he married Kathrine Marie Gibler, his high school sweetheart. He attended the University of Illinois, graduating in 1956 with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Economics. He began his career with Swift & Company, the meat processing company, upon graduation at their headquarters in Chicago. His 31-year career with Swift included numerous positions that found him, along with his growing family, moving around the United States until he was named senior vice president of the company in 1975, returning to Chicago. In the intervening years, he held various positions — everything from lamb buyer to plant manager to labor negotiator.

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During his years with Swift, his business travels took him around the country and abroad. He was a committee member of the American Meat Institute (AMI) in Washington, D.C., the regulatory agency for the industry in the United States. In the ensuing years he did consulting work in the fresh meats industry before founding his own company, Quality Pork Processors (QPP), a pork processing company in Austin, Minnesota in 1987. Richard remained CEO of the company until his retirement in 2000.

Richard and Kathrine bought a farm outside of Rock Springs, Wisconsin in 1979 as a weekend retreat for themselves and their family. Working outside around the farm brought him great joy. He welcomed tending to everyday chores, especially chopping firewood, which would be used for the evening campfires and for heating the farmhouse in the early days. After the Christmas holidays, the couple relaxed at their condo in Bonita Springs, Florida. Richard enjoyed boating, golf and annual fishing trips to Canada, Brazil and other locations with friends and family. He enjoyed bridge and cribbage and delighted in teaching his children and grandchildren how to play chess along with other games that required thinking skills. Movies were an important family time event for both Richard and Kathrine. He loved all kinds of music and took great pleasure in singing around the piano with family, notably Christmas carol sing-alongs during the holidays.

He and Kathrine were doting grandparents, never missing an opportunity to attend a football game, soccer or wrestling match, swimming competitions, piano recitals or basketball games. Richard was a lifelong history buff as well as a voracious reader of historical biographies. He was fascinated with the Civil War and was proud to be a direct descendent of Frank Pettis, a Civil War drummer boy from Wisconsin who is buried in the Reedsburg Cemetery.

Throughout his life, Richard instilled a strong work ethic, loyalty and sense of justice in both his children and grandchildren. He demonstrated these principles through his business relationships and his many charitable community endeavors where he donated his time and expertise. He gave back to the community wherever he lived. In Scottsbluff, Nebraska, he was a member of the Rotary Club and president of the Scottsbluff/Gering United Chamber of Commerce. He was condo board president at his and Kathrine’s Florida home and the first Chairman of the Plan Commission for Excelsior Township, serving from the time of its formation in 2006.

Richard and Kathrine were lifelong members of the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), and both were active in whatever community church they joined. He served as a deacon, elder, Sunday school teacher, and in other volunteer capacities. He and Kathrine were members of both the First Presbyterian Church in Reedsburg and the First Presbyterian Church of Baraboo, where they created an Endowment Fund. His faith was a cornerstone of his life, and he took great comfort in the 23rd Psalm.

He will be greatly missed.

Beloved husband of Kathrine Marie for 57 years and loving father to Sarah Elizabeth (Bill) Adamson of Naperville, Illinois, Martha Ann (Jeff) Hinkle of Omaha, Nebraska, Richard Curtis, Jr. (Jim Bailey) of Chicago, Illinois, Julia Jean Ethun Baraboo, Wisconsin (deceased), and Susan Elaine (Tony) Carlin of Bloomfield, New Jersey. His grandchildren are Jason Knight (Katie) Nolda of San Francisco, California, Amanda Marie (Niall Wallace, fiancée) Hinkle of Brooklyn, New York, Matthew Jeffrey (Alicia) Hinkle of New Ulm, Minnesota, Christopher Richard (Erica) Nolda of Manhattan Beach, California, Brian Champion (Dena) Hinkle of White Bear Lake, Minnesota, Erik Scott Ethun of Kenosha, Wisconsin, Kathrine Elizabeth (Travis) LeBlanc of Westminster, Colorado, Hannah Marie Ethun of Cottage Grove, Wisconsin, Connor Knight Carlin of Bloomfield, New Jersey, Grace Julia Carlin of Bloomfield, New Jersey. His great-grandchildren are Amelia Kathrine Hinkle, Greta Martha Hinkle, Sophie Diana Hinkle, Nora Clair Hinkle, Violet Belle Hinkle, True Grace Hinkle, Calvin Knight LeBlanc, and George James Nolda. In addition.Richard is survived by his sisters Geraldine Knight of San Clemente, California, Janet (Jim) Wisner of Wonder Lake, Illinois and Susan Seaver of Crystal Lake, Illinois, Bill and Pat Gibler, (brother and sister-in-law) of Green Valley, Arizona, Joe Gibler, (brother-in-law) of Rockford, Illinois, and Frank and Rita Gibler (brother and sister-in-law) of Rockford, Illinois, as well as many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his beloved parents, Roscoe and Charlotte Knight, his beloved wife Kathrine Marie (Gibler), their daughter, Julia Jean Ethun, for whom he and his wife created the Julia Knight Ethun Memorial Scholarship; a sister, Enola Woodard, a mother-in-law Marjorie Marie Gibler, a sister-in-law Frances Gibler Leneker, and sister-in-law Marguerite Gibler.

The Rago-Baldwin Funeral Home, 520 East St. in Baraboo is assisting the family with arrangements where the visitation will take place on Friday, Aug. 5 from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 6 at the First Presbyterian Church, 416 Ash St. in Baraboo with Pastor Lisa Taylor officiating. Burial will be held at St. John’s Cemetery in Rock Springs.

Memorials may be given to the Lewy Body Dementia Association (LBDA), Parkinson Disease Foundation or Sauk County Health Care Center Foundation in Reedsburg, Wisconsin.

The Knight family is very grateful for all the community support throughout Richard’s illness and would like particularly to thank Tami Stieve, Jill Corwith and the entire staff of the Sauk County Health Care Center, in Reedsburg, Wisconsin, for their compassionate care.