Posted 12 months ago
By Kevin Horn
Following a massive heart attack, Frank M. Knight passed away on April 7, 2013, at Banner Boswell Hospital in Sun City, AZ. During the last year of his life, he experienced a variety of health problems, including two strokes. He had been undergoing intensive therapy.
Frank was born in Norfolk, NE, on June 29, 1944, to Edward M. Knight and Ruth M. Knight. World War II was ongoing and the family was temporarily stationed in Cleveland, OH, where Edward was a section foreman at a B-29 bomber factory.
Ruth’s parents lived in Norfolk, and had offered to assist with the two young children. After the War, the family returned to Alliance.
Frank grew up in Alliance and graduated from Alliance High School in 1963. He played the saxophone and was in a small band named the Junior Jazz Kings. He developed a love for big-band music and golf. During several summers he ran a driving range at the golf course.
Following graduation, he enrolled in Doane College, but dropped out after several months. During Christmas vacation he interviewed some of Alliance’s leaders who had never gone to college. Much to the consternation of his parents (and according to Frank), all were unanimous in agreeing that they had never felt disadvantaged by the lack of a college degree.
Frank indicated that he wanted to become a golf pro. He took a job at Safeway, enlisted in the National Guard, and spent as much time perfecting his golf game as he could. He entered numerous tournaments throughout Nebraska and neighboring states and won so many championship trophies that he ran out of space to display them. He began to donate the trophies back so they could be reused. However, he retained those he won with his father. At his peak he was a scratch (no handicap) golfer. While he was successful in winning tournaments, unfortunately the monetary prizes were minimal.
Around 1966 he accepted a position at the Alliance National Bank where he remained for the next 22 years, ultimately becoming a vice-president. While at the bank, he served on the Bank’s Board, was active with the United Way, and was a founding member of the Knight Museum Foundation. He remained on the Bank’s Board until the bank was sold in 1994.
In 1988 Frank’s second marriage to Joan VonTour ended with divorce. Frank wanted to start a new life. He moved to Arizona with his children and obtained a realtor’s license. The new location also allowed him to play golf year around.
Frank was an extroverted, people person. He genuinely cared about people and their well-being. He would usually pick-up the tab, even though it was not expected. Without fanfare, he would personally assist those in need by giving them funds or small loans, even when the likelihood of repayment was low. He enjoyed a good party and delighted in organizing events and participating fully. He also loved and followed Nebraska football and the Denver Broncos.
Frank is survived by his daughter Celinda Knight and brother Robert Knight. He was preceded in death by his parents and son Brian Knight.
Memorials may be given to the Knight Museum or to a charity of the donor’s choice.