Clarence Frank Knight, Jr. (92) of Madisonville, Texas passed away peacefully March 17, 2019 after a long battle with cancer. Frank was born November 25, 1926 in Redland, Texas to Clarence Frank Knight Sr., and Nettie Virginia (Carswell) Knight.
Around Frank’s second birthday the family moved to Alto, Texas where his Father managed and subsequently acquired a variety store from the Perry Brothers chain of stores. Frank loved growing up in the tight-knit east Texas community of Alto and was consistently recognized throughout the region as a gifted athlete and favorite son.
In 1944 following high school graduation and at the age of 17 he enlisted in the Merchant Marines and during the next 3 years worked on tanker ships delivering fuel to the Pacific Theater during the final years of WWII. Upon returning home, he enrolled first at Stephen F. Austin College in Nacogdoches and then transferred to Baylor University to complete his BBA. It was during his years at Baylor Frank’s sister Ruby, also a Baylor student, introduced him to Betty Sue Beard of Beaumont. Although the two planned to marry shortly after graduation, they soon learned they would have to wait a bit longer, as Frank was drafted immediately upon graduation by the Army to serve in Korea as a tank commander with the 45th reconnaissance division.
After returning home from the war in 1952, Frank with the help of his father located a variety store in Madisonville which was for sale. Frank purchased the store that same year and in January of 1953 married his college sweetheart Betty Sue. The following year they were blessed with a daughter, Janet Elaine, followed later by a son David. Frank would go on to manage and operate his variety store business on the square in Madisonville for the next 33 years, while along the way opening a children’s store and establishing a cattle operation which he thoroughly enjoyed throughout both his business lifetime and, in the years, following in retirement.
Frank was raised by a strong Christian family, loved the Lord and was a devoted Christian throughout his 92 years. He was a faithful member of First Baptist Church of Madisonville where he served in various capacities and business committees through the years. He also served on the Madisonville School Board and took great joy and pride in developing,mentoring and introducing many Madisonville High School students to the retail business. In his later years Frank most enjoyed spending time with his beloved Betty Sue, his family and many close friends; particularly if it involved a game of any kind. He also enjoyed his garden, Saturday afternoon college football and anything to do with his children, grandchildren or great grandchildren.
A celebration of life was held Thursday, March 21, at First Baptist Church of Madisonville. at 2:00 pm. Interment was at Madisonville City Cemetery.
Frank is preceded in death by Frank and Nettie Knight of Alto, his sister, Ruby Propst, two grandsons, Trae Pennington and David Hutchinson.
He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Betty Sue Knight, his daughter Janet and husband David Johnson of Irving, son David Knight and wife Leslie of Bryan, grandchildren Leslie Daricek and husband Brian of The Woodlands, William Knight and wife Sydney of Coppell, Clayton Knight and fiancée Brooke Daniels of Dallas, and Daniel Pennington of Richardson. Great-grandsons: Erick Daricek, Evan Daricek, Isaac Kroeker Daricek, and great-grandchildren, Connor Knight and Avery Knight, his brother-in-law Fred Propst and extended family including numerous nephews, nieces and cousins.
Pallbearers: William Knight, Daniel Pennington, Clayton Knight, Erick Daricek, Evan Daricek, Isaac Kroeker Daricek
Honorary Pallbearers: Kenneth Richie, Kenneth Andrews, Kenneth Farris, Jim McMillin, Dan Madole, Craig Bailey, Melvin Hahn, Ricky Earp, Alastair Lander, Brian Daricek
A special thanks to our many friends who contributed so much to both Betty Sue and Frank during his long illness and recent hospitalizations. This includes the many visitors, faithful church prayer partners, neighbors, support staff of both the Madisonville and Bryan hospitals, doctors, those affiliated with the Texas Loving Care facility in which Frank spent his last two and a half months, and the Traditions Hospice service.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the First Baptist Church Extension Ministry, P.O. Box 159, Madisonville, TX 77864.
Arrangements were entrusted to Madisonville Funeral Home in Madisonville, Texas.