M. Lois Knight, age 84, of Spencer, was called to her heavenly home on November 5, 2023. She passed away peacefully during her sleep at St. Luke’s Nursing Home where she had resided since 2010. Lois was the oldest of six girls, born in Marion, Indiana to the late C. Roger and Mary M. (Blackard) Shugart.
After graduating from Mississinewa High school in 1957, Lois took a six-month stenographic course at a local business college in Marion, IN. She was married to Charles Knight from 1958 to 1984. Together they had four children; however, Jimmy, their second son, was born prematurely and did not survive. In 1964 they moved from Indiana to an acreage south of Greenville, just down the road from her parents.
Summer activities around the farm were very busy; and she thrived as a homemaker and stay-at-home mom. Her father would hire Lois to “walk beans” (pulling or chopping the weeds) with her children. She would often use the money she earned to buy fabric for a new garment she wanted to sew, or for paint to freshen up a room in the home that she loved to decorate. Many hours were also spent canning produce or preserving other fruits and vegetables from the gardens she kept. Whether helping her children with 4-H projects or gathering eggs to sell from the small flock of chickens they kept, her work seemed to be never-ending.
Lois was also a great pianist and shared her talents on Sunday mornings at the Friends Church in Greenville, IA. Every week would find her at the piano, with her friend Sylvia Schoer or her mother Mary on the organ, providing the worship music prior to Sunday school and during church. On several occasions she was invited to perform a “special” (musical piano piece) at Grace Congregational Church in Greenville. She would often reminisce about when her sister Faith would play piano and organ duets with her.
Even though her life was met with some unexpected challenges along the way, Lois never lost her faith. She had a strong desire to write a book that might encourage others who had struggled with mental illness. She truly believed that “In Spite of it All” her life was a testimony of how God can do great things. Every evening at 6 p.m., Lois would sit in her wheelchair in front of her keyboard and play hymns. This special time of worship became a ritual that brought joy and inspiration to many of the other residents at St. Luke’s. The legacy that she left behind for her children and grandchildren was not fame or fortune. Rather, it is through the words of one of her favorite songs, “Jesus is All the World to Me” that her beautiful spirit lives on.
She is survived by three children, Tim (Bonnie) Knight of Spencer, Tom (Jan) Knight of Durant, IA, and Debbie (Mike) Johnson of Lenexa, KS; four grandchildren: Steven (Lauren) Johnson of Olathe, KS, Chris Johnson of Kansas City, MO, Kayla Knight of Apple Valley, MN, and Joey Knight of Spencer, IA; three great-grandchildren: Nate, Alex, and Sophia Johnson of Olathe, KS; her sisters Rebecca Potter of Oswego, KS, Jean Welle of Wichita, KS, Hope Just of Wichita, KS, and Dawn (Roy) Russell of Oswego, KS; plus many nieces, nephews, and friends.
Besides her parents, she was preceded in death by an infant son, James Allen (Jimmy) Knight and her sister Faith Mitchell.