Robert M. Knight
Freeport — Robert Michael Knight, known and loved by family and friends for his unfettered generosity, his sardonic wit and his unparalleled intellect, died Dec. 14, 2016, at his home after suffering a heart attack.
A lawyer by profession, Bob worked for the last 25 years for the state of Maine. Early in his law career, he was an associate with the Portland law firm of Richardson, Tyler & Troubh and later with Bean, Jones & Warren. Before that he was a law clerk for two Maine Supreme Judicial Court justices.
Prior to entering law school, Bob was a high school English teacher at Erskine Academy in China, Maine, and Brunswick High School. An engaging and enthusiastic teacher who demanded high performance, he imparted his love of language and literature to a generation of students.
Bob was a regular reviewer of nonfiction, especially history and biography, for Kirkus Reviews. An expert on subjects as varied as Ezra Pound and Major League Baseball, Bob could converse and expound with learned authority on myriad subjects.
Being in Bob Knight’s circle of family and friends meant giving, receiving, debating and loving books. He instilled his love of books in his younger siblings, children, niece, nephew and grandchildren. Bob always gave the best books.
Born in Norfolk, Va., Nov. 25, 1949, to Robert Newell Knight and Marguerite Maucere Knight, he was the eldest of three children. A child of a Navy chief, he moved with his family to Taiwan in 1955, where he and his brother — and best friend — Tom, started school, and where his younger sister, Felicia, was born. Eventually, the family settled in Camden, where Bob attended public schools.
A graduate of Colby College in Waterville, Bob also earned a master’s degree in English literature from the University of Maine and a J.D. from the University of Maine School of Law.
His first daughter, Rebecca, was born Aug. 30, 1976. He often said that was the “happiest day of [his] life.”
Bob met Elizabeth Bennett in 1986. Liz was his great love and partner in all things until the day he died. With Liz he enjoyed many adventures. They attended operas, museums, theater and Boston Red Sox games all over the country. Theirs was a life of art, literature, music, great food and spirited repartee.
His facility with language and his humor put him always in demand as the officiant at weddings — in and out of the family — and the interlocutor at momentous events. Perhaps his most moving remarks were a mere 10 months ago at his father’s funeral.
Bob relished his role of grandfather. Known to all eight of them as “Big Papi,” Bob’s love for his grandchildren was unabashed and joyous.
Throughout his life, he was always a steady hand, a fount of wisdom, a foundation of knowledge and a source of comfort for all his family and his many friends.
Bob Knight was predeceased by his parents, Bob and Marge Knight, and his daughter Emily Mary Knight. He is survived by Elizabeth Bennett of Freeport; a daughter, Rebecca Knight, of Boston, and her husband, David Bairstow, and their children, Elizabeth and Emmeline; his brother, Thomas Knight, of South Berwick, and his wife, Sandra; his sister, Felicia Knight, of Scarborough,and her husband, Towle Tompkins; his niece, Sarah Knight, and her husband, Judd Harris, of Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic; and his nephew, Thomas Knight, of Los Angeles. He is also survived by Barbara and John Waterman of Hebron, and their children, Ida, Hazel and Noel; and Margaret and David Chalmers of Yarmouth, and their children, Jack, Eli, and Louisa.
A memorial service will be held Tuesday, Dec. 27, at 10 a.m. at Stetson’s Funeral Home, 12 Federal St., Brunswick.
In lieu of flowers, the Knight family welcomes donations in Bob’s memory to The American Heart Association of Maine, 51 US Route 1, Ste. M, Scarborough, ME 04074 and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Northern New England Chapter, 114 Perimeter Road, Nashua, NH 03063.
Memorial condolences may be expressed at stetsonsfuneralhome.com