Thursday, June 3, 2010

RIP, Dad, an obituary.

Well, it's been a few weeks, but I finally decided to do a little post about my Dad's passing.

My Dad, Gordon McKnight, was born in Ohio and raised in Denver, Colorado (where his heart partly lay, along with St. Louis, MO). He served in the Army in Vietnam, and until his death, wore a bracelet of an MIA/POW US Soldier named Clive Jeffs. He had another one, but they found the MIA soldier. My Mom gave him the bracelet he wore for over 35-40 years.

He worked at the Denver Post and then the DP's Champions of Golf where they set up some of the first pro golf tournaments in Colorado!

We all moved to South Florida (Wellington, my Mom Cee, sister Amy and I) in 1984 where my Dad was Marketing Director at Executive Sports, which set up and organized pro golf tournaments. Jack Nicklaus was part owner via Golden Bear.

By 1992, he had started his own business, Event Links, Inc., and continued marketing major pro golf tournaments, like the Philip Morris Invitational. He also sat on the Sunfest board of directors (West Palm Beach, FL event/arts/crafts/music fest).

He re-married Nancy Gross in 1993 and my family grew (my mom married Mark Lawrence in 1994, and the family grew some more). By 1996, he and Nancy moved to a very nice and older part of West Palm Beach and bought a beautiful, old Florida home.

By 1998, my Dad retired and sold his business. He always loved cooking (since I was a little kid in Colorado--oh, and the Denver Broncos where he was President of their official fan club), and so he moved to Norfolk, VA to attend cooking school at Johnson and Wales. I visited him around December of 1998 and had a great time with him. He wanted to cook and write about cooking.

Summer 1999 saw him living temporarily in Los Angeles as he interned in the food dept. at the L.A. Times. He wrote an article that made the front page of their food section. Read it here.

He also freelanced for Cooking Light (read a recipe here) and I believe Southern Living. He opened a restaurant in Denver called Squad Car Chili Parlor in 2001. He lost a lot of weight due to stress, and I saw him at my sister's wedding August 2001 in Columbia, SC. He actually looked great, despite the stress! It didn't work out and he then moved to St. Louis, where Nancy and her family were at.

Gordon began teaching inner city kids how to cook at a high school in St. Louis, and he really changed a lot of lives for the better. And they changed his, too. He quickly developed his "St. Louis family," including Timmy (both of whom considered each other brothers, which is awesome), Richard and everyone at the fantastic Greek restaurant Ari's. They called him Cheffy! He also taught at a local community college (cooking, of course), and wrote restaurant reviews at (read one here).

I know I'm only just scratching the surface of his life in St. Louis, but he was probably his happiest with the love of his life: cooking, changing lives and all his friends, and esp. Nancy.

He died at around 4:15 AM on May 15, 2010, with his sisters Gail and Jane, my sister Amy and I, his and Nancy's close friend Trish at his side, and Nancy holding him until he passed on. This was after some major health problems that started around 2007, 2008.

My Dad leaves behind a great legacy, with many lives touched and many great meals made and eaten by us all. He was Gordon to some, Cheffy to others, Grandpa and Uncle to still more. But to me, he'll always be my Dad.

I love you, Dad. May you Rest In Peace up in Heaven. They're having some great meals up there!

1 comment:

Lauren Taylor said...

I love you Heath. That was beautiful. RIP Uncle Gordon.