The passing of Ron Knight

Dear Sailors, The following letter was written by Will Lesh.  It is with great sadness that I am writing to let you know that we have lost a close friend and the Commodore of the Pacific Northwest Model Yacht Club. Ron Knight passed away last week at his home after an adverse reaction to medication he was taking to manage atrial fibrillation. Ron was also diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma this past summer, and had recently begun chemotherapy. A little over a month ago Ron appeared to be in fine shape. When he received the diagnosis for the lymphoma, he was clear about his intention to beat it.    Ron’s wife Pat and his three daughters and five grandchildren were with him in his final days. I spoke to Ron in the hospital, and he was weak, but very clear about what was taking place. He told me very succinctly that his condition was terminal and that he hoped to get home for a few days before the end. I am not sure that I could ever be so brave in such a situation.   Ron had a distinguished career as one of the top open heart surgeons in the Pacific Northwest. Once when we were working together on model boats, Ron began describing what it was like holding a living heart in one hand and operating on it with the other hand. It always seemed quite remarkable having a heart surgeon helping out with finishing off T37s to ship. Ron came up a number of times, sometimes for a couple of days, and pitched in at Tippecanoe. He was always great company and a very welcome guest.   Ron’s skill and competence as a craftsperson developed beautifully with each boat that he built, and his last masterpiece was truly impressive. He built a very special T37 for the Center for Wooden Boats and presented it in a recent ceremony to commemorate Colleen Wagner, one of the founding members of the Center along with her husband Dick Wagner. The boat, a T37 named “Colleen”, is on permanent display at the Center for Wooden Boats.   Ron was always so devoted to his entire family. He took such pleasure in building model boats, T37s and the T24 Tug, with his grandchildren and for his grandchildren. As Commodore of the PNMYC, he took on the responsibilities with maybe some reluctance initially, but over the last few years he put heart and soul into the club. He was a wonderful leader for the group and did a huge amount to promote rc sailing in the Pacific Northwest. He became one of the top racing skippers in the group through constant focus and dedication to developing his racing skills.   Best of all Ron was a great friend to many of us, and all who knew him even casually always spoke highly of him and felt his warmth and generosity instinctively. I just got off the phone with a T37 owner who was full of praise for the job Ron was doing with the PNMYC when very sadly I had to let him know that we needed to be talking in the past tense about our Commodore.   Over the last ten years, I have spent many hours together with Ron. His expert knowledge about aviation, his background of years of skippering his own racing yacht on the Sound, his general interest and often surprising depth of knowledge in many fields always made Ron a charming companion. I feel privileged for all the times I have spent with Ron and for all that I have learned from him. We were lucky to have Ron as our Commodore. Ron always felt that following Allan VanNess as Commodore would be a hard thing to do well enough, but I don’t think anybody has any doubt that Ron pulled it off brilliantly and with total success. Thank you Ron for everything.Will Lesh  Tippecanoe Boats
4305 Nordum Road
Everson, Washington 98247
800-206-0006/360-966-7245
www.sailingisme.com

I’ll add my own note: Ron was a great guy, a tremendous help to me learning to sail a T37 in Seattle, he will be missed. – Peter

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s