Don Knight, veteran Valley newsman, succumbs to cancer

March 28, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

Veteran Imperial Valley newsman Donald F. Knight, known for his efforts to make sure young athletes were recognized, died of cancer Tuesday. He was 64.

Visitation for Knight will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday in Frye Chapel & Mortuary in Brawley. Rosary will be said at 7 p.m.

Mass will be celebrated at 9 a.m. Saturday in Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Brawley with the Rev. Ben Davison officiating. Burial will be in Memorial Gardens in Imperial.

Friends, family and those who worked with Knight said he cared about the community.

They said he made it his life's work to make sure the North County was covered fairly when he worked for the Brawley News — which later became the Imperial Valley Press — and the Imperial Valley Weekly.


His greatest love, they said, was sports, whether umpiring Little League games, taking stats, announcing games, or later, writing about sports.

"He would always do stories on the kids," said Steve Larson, owner of the Imperial Valley Weekly, the newspaper Knight worked for the last eight years.

Larson added: "He was probably one of the major champions of what was going in the Northend."

Brawley City Clerk Janet Smith said of Knight, "He was always friendly and very nice and he did his job."

She added, "He tried to make it his business to know what was going on. He was very concerned with what was going on in the community."

Knight was born and raised in Brawley. He graduated from Brawley Union High School in 1955. While in high school he started to write for the Brawley News. He continued writing for the paper after he graduated and even after he joined the Brawley Police Department as an investigator.

Knight's daughter, Lupe Armstrong, said to avoid a conflict while on the police force, Knight wrote under an assumed name — Dan Knox.

On Aug. 22, 1959, he married Teresa Rios-Flores in Brawley.

After several years with the Police Department, he returned to journalism full-time with the Brawley News. He worked for several years for the newspaper as sports editor.

After he retired from the Brawley News, he worked for a time as a public relations specialist for Alford Distributing. However, he again felt the call of journalism and took a job with the Imperial Valley Weekly.

In that newspaper he covered all aspects of news in the North County, from attending Brawley City Council meetings to going to Brawley Little League games.

"He wanted to give recognition to the people of the Northend, especially kids," Armstrong said, adding, "He knew everyone and everyone knew him. He loved this place."

For years Knight attended each Brawley City Council meeting. He would sit at a table in front of the council and take notes on everything said.

He kept a camera with him and when he felt a story needed a photo, he would stand up and get the shot.

Brawley City Councilwoman Jo Shields said, "He was just real interested in the community and what was happening. He tried to cover the City Council very thoroughly."

Miguel Miranda, president of Brawley Little League, said Knight "walked a lot of miles for a lot of organizations."

Knight volunteered for such agencies as Pioneers Memorial Hospital, Sacred Heart Catholic Church and Little League. He was a former member of the Lions Club.

Knight is survived by his wife, Teresa Knight of Brawley; daughter and son-in-law, Lupe and Randy Armstrong of Brawley; son, Fred Knight of San Diego; granddaughter and her husband, Teri and George Panagiotopoulos of San Francisco; grandsons Tommy and Barrick Armstrong, both of Brawley, and Josh Armstrong of Phoenix; great-grandchildren, Dean Randall Panagiotopoulos and Zoe Panagiotopoulos, both of San Francisco.

The family suggests memorials be sent to the Brawley Little League.

Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

Imperial Valley Press Online Articles