ORANGE- Janet W. Knight PhD, passed in peace on her 89th birthday, January 30, 2021.
Born in Cumberland, Maryland, she lived most of her life in Orange.
She is survived by her four children: Robin (Michael) Aronson of Waterville Valley, N.H., Heather Holster, Scot (Karla) Knight, and Douglas Knight, all residing in Swampscott. She had eight grandchildren: Rob, Shana, Christal, Alex, Andrew, Katie, Jack and Tess, six great-grandchildren: Cooper, Aaron, Lily, Alison, Jason, and Aidia.
She was preceded in death by her daughter Lisa Knight of North Hollywood, CA, and former husband Robert G. Knight, M.D of Athol.
A true academic, Janet graduated with high honors from Allegheny High School in Maryland in 1950. She completed a program in nursing from the Lucy Webb Hayes Nursing School and Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. She earned a Bachelor of Science Nursing Degree from Boston College. She later attended Boston University where she accomplished a Masters Degree in Nursing in 1979. Janet went back to school in her 50s and would defend her dissertation on Healthcare for the Homeless; she received her Doctoral Degree in Medical Sociology at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Her printed work for the Robert Wood Foundation with Dr. Clarke Roofe was published in 1980; the article was a culmination of her tireless work surrounding the healthcare plight of the homeless population in Worcester and across the country.
Dr. Knight had a most impressive working career. During high school years she was an accomplished pianist who toured with Jazz Bands throughout Maryland. While completing her studies at UMass she would work the streets of Worcester and Springfield helping organizations provide food, clothing, and medications to the homeless. She would move on to succeed in her profession as a nurse educator as Clinical Director of Nursing Students at Hahnemann Hospital in Worcester. She was a Professor of Sociology at Boston University, and next worked ten years for the Department of Corrections in Massachusetts as Director of Sociology as a Research Scientist under Governor Weld. She worked as a floor nurse at the Quabbin Valley Health Care facility in Athol.
An active member of the community of Orange, Janet served on the Board of Health and the Mahar School Committee. She belonged to the town Rotary club. Her love of reading prompted her to participate in the Great Books Club; she sang in the choir at both St. Mary’s Church, and the 1794 Meetinghouse in New Salem. She attended St. Mary’s Parish in Orange, and later the Athol/Orange Baptist church in Athol. She grew strong in faith and love for her Savior. Above all community service, it was the love Janet had for her town and townspeople that will be remembered. Everyone was invited into the family home on South Main Street; neighborhood friends of her children would come by just to see her as she was welcoming and hospitable.
The life of Janet Knight cannot be fully captured in her resume. Hers is a story of overcoming adversity. Her Scottish family roots are planted in the hills of West Virginia, a state with a history of impoverishment and disadvantage; her family worked the coal mines and dairy farms to make ends meet. Overall, the measurement of her true accomplishments can be found in the love she had for her home and her children. High School football games and parades were made special because all five of her children were in the band or on the field. Her camp on Lake Mattawa was an oasis to her family and countless friends who could always find Janet sunning on the deck, playing guitar, voraciously reading her books, or sailing on the water - just a few of her many passions.
Wherever our mother was, that was our home- we had no home but her. She is with us always, first in her lifetime, then forever in our memories. She is not physically here anymore but her light and love live on forever. For now, mother, you are gone from our sight; but joyfully, and always you are now Coram Deo … in the Face of God.
When it is safe to do so, we will honor our mother with an in-person Memorial Service. Information will be forthcoming.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, if you so desire, to direct charitable donations to Camp del Corazon, 11615 Hesby St., North Hollywood, CA 90601 (http://www.campdelcorazon.org
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Janet W. Knight, please visit our floral store.