Oh, What a Knight

In 1956, The Dells released a song called “Oh What a Night,” which they re-released in 1969. The song begins with the spoken line, “Do you recall the night, that very, very special night?” On May 19, 2024, we experienced a heartbreaking loss with the passing of a very special person, Richard L. Knight.

Few have impacted as many lives from diverse backgrounds as Knight did. At his homegoing celebration, people from all over the metroplex gathered to express their love for him and support his family. Knight aimed to change perceptions of people of color in Fort Worth, fostering special bonds with everyone he met. He wasn’t just an acquaintance; he was a servant leader who stood tall.

Most people only needed one conversation to be captivated by Knight. His genuine nature shone through in every interaction. If you hadn’t met him before entering a room, he was the person you’d want to meet. His authenticity was unmistakable.

At his core, Knight was a servant and a friend. As Vice President of Operations at Knight Waste Services and a newly minted realtor, he was dedicated to serving others. He supported many nonprofits and events, always asking, “What can I do to help?” He especially encouraged and promoted minority-owned businesses.

Knight had a rare ability to make everyone feel like his closest friend, at least in the top five, if not the top ten. He was an excellent listener and advisor, speaking with grace, integrity, and a touch of humor. Friend, Sue Jordan felt so special around him that she thought she was the only one. Similarly, Gloria Starling, managing partner of Capital Grille, called him her amigo, writing, “We’ve lost a great friend, a beloved soul whose presence was a gift to all who knew him. Richard Knight was not just a friend to me; he was a guiding light, a source of unwavering support, always pushing to embrace life’s adventures…fishing…bike riding. His laughter was infectious, and his smile could lift even the heaviest hearts. He had an incredible way of making everyone feel seen, heard, and valued.”

Knight’s commitment to service often overshadowed his friendships, but it was this service that allowed those friendships to blossom. He never sought the spotlight or the forefront; he simply wanted to help and support others from a pure heart touched by God. CEO of Women’s Center of Tarrant County, Laura Hilgart said, “We will miss the way Richard lit up a room from the moment he walked in with his energy and that smile.  And we will miss his servant leadership that made such a difference at TWC and in the community.” Francine McQueen, Marketing and Communications Manager for Women’s Center of Tarrant County confirmed this by commenting, “I had the privilege to witness that servant leadership when we both worked on the committee for our annual walk/run together – Richard as a board member and me on the staff. Richard worked tirelessly on the committee to help us have a successful run – from modeling for our marketing campaign to helping set up. He was joyful, dependable and most of all, committed to excellence.”

His name may not be written in history books, but the hearts of many will carry the memory of his service, friendship, and love forever. Knowing you always felt better after being with Knight, except on the day he passed, is a testament to his impact. Psalms 30:5 reminds us, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” As we remember Richard L. Knight, our hearts may be heavy, and tears may flow, but joy and laughter will return as we reflect on how special he was. Weeping may endure for a “Knight,” but the joy of having him as a special amigo will make us smile and say, “Oh, What a Knight!”

In the future, when we speak of him, we will say to our friends or ourselves, “Oh what a Knight, what a very special Knight.” The 1969 re-release of the song went to number one on the best-selling singles chart. For many, Richard L. Knight tops their chart.


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