June Knight died peacefully on March 28,2022 at the age of 84. Graveside services will be held on Friday, April 1 at 10:00 am at the Texas State Veterans Cemetery at Abilene, followed by a homegoing celebration at 11:00 a.m. at her beloved Pioneer Drive Baptist Church, Dr.Jeff Reid officiating.
June was born to parents Gladys Estella Nease and Wilburn Jennings Owen on November 6, 1937 during the scourge of World War II and its resulting Great Depression. They survived abject poverty by working in the cotton fields and home-canning hominy for sale at local grocery stores. Her mother fervently emphasized education as a means to escape that poverty; hence, June was a dedicated student and graduated Valedictorian of Blair High School. At age 17 she met and married the true love of her life, O.L. “Pete” Knight. Theirs was an epic love story which spanned 63 years. On the eve of her wedding, her hard-working family required that she work the fields. But as the sun set, she held ahigh a boll of cotton and triumphantly proclaimed in a voice befitting Scarlett O’Hara, “This is the last boll of cotton I will EVER pick”. Hours later, true to her word, she marched down to the church altar in a wedding dress designed and sewn by her bleeding hands, to wed the man of her dreams and enter a new, adventurous, and cotton-free life.
Military life took her far from her humble farm town. Together, June and Pete saw the world for the next 23 years. They had two daughters, Marla and Kelly and they devoted their lives to making their daughters the women they are today. After decades of decorated military service, Pete retired. Together, June and Pete embarked upon a lifelong ministry to share the Good News of Christ. First at Pioneer Drive Baptist Church, then at Elm Valley Community Church, thereafter planting churches along the U.S./Mexico border. June loved her Lord Jesus, her family, her church, and her many friends. They were an effective evangelical team. And though June would demur, she really was the ‘power behind the throne”.
June was a humble woman of many gifts: a talented dress designer, an award-winning china painter, a peerless quilter, a gifted pianist, and a consummate cook. All of us have been the fortunate beneficiaries of these tangible, timeless tributes from our talented mother.
New York City was her home away from home. A frequent traveler to the Big Apple, she embraced all the City had to offer. She took in over 60 Broadway musicals while expertly organizing and executing church group trips to take in all the culture and entertainment NYC had to offer. Deep inside this Okie gal was a true native New Yorker!
Though a child of poverty, June’s charity to others was immense. She was an avid supporter of many worthy causes. Some of her favorites are listed below. Through her devoted tithing and additional charitable giving, she has improved the lives of countless fellow humans existing in a cruel and unjust world. This is her true legacy.
June is preceded in death and reunited in heaven by her beloved husband of 63 years, Pete Knight, her parents, and a brother, Don Owen.
She is survived by her daughters, Marla Knight (Rick Rhodes) and Kelly Knight of Abilene, her grandchildren Natalie McCoy (Steve), Luke Weems (Cheyenne), Mercedes Valdez (Antonio DiNovo), great-grandchildren Shea McCoy and Marley McCoy (of Whiteman AFB Missouri). Her extended family lovingly included grandchildren Mike Rhodes (Kim), Sarah McGough (Lonnie) and great grandchildren Aspin Rhodes, Mavrick Rhodes, and Mac McGough.
Philippians 4:8 says “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, anything that is excellent & praiseworthy---think about such things.”
True. Noble. Right. Pure. Lovely. Admirable. Excellent. Praiseworthy. Earth will never know a better embodiment of these words than June Knight. How blessed are those who had the privilege of sharing her life.
The family would like to thank West Texas Rehabilitation Center Hospice of the Big Country for their loving care of June in her last months. If moved to contribute please consider gifts to Hospice of the Big Country, Doctors Without Borders or Love and Care Ministries in lieu of flowers.