by Senior Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Gregory J. Knott
Last month, my father Jack Knott passed away. It was sudden, despite visible signs of his health in decline. I was away and my brother called me early in the morning to tell me that our father had fallen and had a stroke. It was serious and he was unlikely to survive.
My Father had made his wishes abundantly clear, if something like a stroke happened he did not want to be put on life support equipment. He put these wishes in writing and had them on file with the hospital. It made the tough decision for our family easier, knowing that his wishes were being carried out. By the end of the afternoon, he had passed away.
These events are always a whirlwind of activity, funeral arrangements had to be made, extended family notified, etc. It seems to all go so fast. Again thankfully my father had made his wishes known and things came together fairly quickly.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, having a traditional midwestern style visitation and funeral wasn’t practical. We opted for a simple graveside service. Our cousin officiated the service, Midnight Freemasons Founder Todd Creason read a poem that my Dad had left and the family would be given an opportunity to speak. The ceremony concluded with my friend and Masonic brother Todd Hitt playing Amazing Grace on the bagpipes.
My daughter Riley gave an amazing talk about what her Grandpa had meant to her. They had been particularly close since she was born. My dad had retired a couple of years before she was born and was one of her primary baby-sitters as my wife and I worked. It was a real gift that both my children knew him and their grandmother so well. Memories for a lifetime.
Dad was a people person first and foremost. I had put a note on Facebook of his passing and it received over 500 comments. He knew so many people and had so much impact on them, it was simply amazing to read all the comments. Students who had worked for Dad more than 40 years ago, spoke about how he had such an influence on their careers and how much they had learned from him that they took into the workplace.
My Dad was an excellent singer and especially enjoyed visiting area nursing homes to sing for the residents. He was a bright spot in their day. My Great-Grandmother and my dad were especially close. She loved to hear him sing, so my dad produced an album of him singing gospel songs for her in the early 1970’s. Dad wrote one song himself that he titled, “He Was Only 33”, referring to the age and story of Jesus Christ when he was crucified.
While my Dad was not a member of the Masonic Fraternity, he always came to our events and supported the work that we do. The Entered Apprentice is asked during the catechism “Where were you first prepared to be a Freemason? The answer is “In my heart.” For my Dad, everything was always first and foremost from his heart.
My Dad will always be with me, in my heart. His example of how he treated others is something that I will strive to emulate. His hard work ethic and good sense of humor were key tools that he used in motivating and working with others. His devotion to his family was exemplary.
Below is the poem, “When Tomorrow Starts Without me” by David Ramano that Todd Creason read at the funeral:.
When Tomorrow Starts Without Me
And I’m not there to see
If the sun should rise and find your eyes
All filled with tears for me.
I wish so much you wouldn’t cry
The way you did today
While thinking of the many things
We didn’t get to say.
I know how much you love me
As much as I love you
And each time that you think of me
I know you’ll miss me too.
But when tomorrow starts without me
Please try to understand
That an angel came and called my name
And he took me by the hand.
And said my place was ready
In heaven far above
And that I’d have to leave behind
All those I dearly love.
But when I walked through heaven’s gates
I felt so much love at home
When God looked down and smiled at me
From His great golden throne.
He said “This is eternity”
And all I’ve promised you
For life on earth is past
But here it starts anew.”
“I promise no tomorrow
For today will always speak last
And since each day’s the same way
There’s no longing for the past.
So when tomorrow starts without me
Don’t think we’re far apart
For every time you think of me
I’m right here in your heart.
In closing, I just want to say thank you Dad for everything. I will love and miss you always.
WB Gregory J. Knott is a founding member and Senior Contributor of the Midnight Freemasons blog. He is a Past Master of St. Joseph Lodge No. 970 in St. Joseph (IL) and a plural member of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL) and Naval Lodge No. 4 in Washington, DC. He’s a member of the Scottish Rite, the York Rite, Eastern Star and is the Charter Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club No. 768 in Champaign-Urbana. He is also a member of ANSAR Shrine (IL) and the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees. Greg serves on the Board of Directors of The Masonic Society and is a member of the Scottish Rite Research Society and The Philathes Society. He is a charter member of a new Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter U.D. and serves as its Secretary. Greg is very involved in Boy Scouts—an Eagle Scout himself, he is a member of the National Association of Masonic Scouters. You can contact him at email@example.com
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