On Thursday, December 20, 2018, Willard Eugene Knight, loving husband, father and grandfather, passed away peacefully at the age of 67, after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Willard was born on February 15, 1951 in Portsmouth, Ohio to Ernest Freeman Knight and Nellie Miller Knight. Willard graduated from Wheelersburg High School in 1969, after which, he went to work for Norfolk Southern Railroad. Willard had a successful career working his way up the ranks from fireman to engineer. He later became the general chairman of the local chapter of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET). From that position, he climbed the ladder once again to vice president of the Eastern Division of the BLET. Willard was known for being a hard working family man putting in long, tough hours to provide for his family. He had planned to work until 2018, but was forced to retire in 2012 after his illness would no longer allow him to continue. Willard was active in his community and was a member of the Masons and the Shriners, in which he was known to wear a clown costume for the children. Willard was passionate about his family and loved them fiercely. He married his soulmate, his wife of 47 years, Teresia Lynne Stidham on November 27, 1971. The light of his life, his daughter, Michele Dawn, was welcomed into the world on November 23, 1974. Willard was a devoted father and family man that was very involved in the life of his daughter and grandchildren, Brady and Creed. His grandchildren became his heart’s desire and he adored them. He always made certain that their needs were met first. A year didn’t go by without a family vacation and holiday celebration. The building on his property became known as the “party barn” because he was always the first to open his home to family and friends. There was not a ball game of his grandsons he missed and he was their biggest cheerleader and fan. He was an avid card player and loved hearing the sound of the coins tinging in the slot machines. He was known for his stubbornness and honest advice. He had a kind and compassionate spirit and would reach out a hand to those in need. Willard was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife. Lynne Knight, his daughter, Michele (Pat) Warren and grandchildren Brady Warren and Creed Warren. He is also survived by his nephews, who saw him as a father figure, Aaron (Cassie) McHenry and Chad (Sara) McHenry, several great nieces and nephews along with special cousins, Marvin (Jackie) Knight, Wayne (Leah) Knight, Mary (Marvin) Grashel and Carl (Kathy) Reese.
A memorial service and celebration of life will be held from 1:00-4:00 pm Sunday, December 23, 2018 at Harrison-Pyles Funeral Home in Wheelersburg with the funeral following at 4:00 PM with Reverend Mark Bales presiding. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to SOMC Hospice, 2201 25thStreet, Portsmouth, OH 45662. Willards’s family wishes to express their deepest gratitude to those who have extended their sympathy and condolences. On line condolences may be made at www.harrison-pyles.com.