Indian River County
|Death: ||Dec. 19, 2007|
Indian River County
D. VICTOR KNIGHT, SR., 78, of Story and Vero Beach, Fla., died Dec. 19 at Indian River Medical Center in Vero Beach. Mr. Knight maintained a residence in Story the past 22 years and belonged to Kalif Buckskin Horse Patrol in Sheridan. Services are today at First Baptist Church of Vero Beach. Born in Vero Beach, he served in the Air Force in the Korean War and was a lifetime resident of Indian River County, Fla. Mr. Knight was co-founder and president of Riverfront Groves for 47 years and reportedly the first person to introduce the Star Ruby Grapefruit to Florida. He was also longtime member and director of Indian River Citrus League; director and past president of Florida Citrus Packers; past president of Sealed Sweet Growers; director of United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association and Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association; member of the Florida Citrus Commission, Citrus Hall of Fame Selection Committee, and 100 Club; director of HESCO; former trustee for St. Edward's School; and lifetime member of Safari Club International. He received the first Outstanding Farmer Award from the Indian River County Jaycees. He was an accomplished pilot and hunted big game around the world. He belonged to First Baptist Church of Vero Beach since 1943; Mahia Temple Club of Miami; Vero Beach Masonic Lodge; Vero Beach Country Club; and Quail Valley Club of Vero Beach. Survivors include his wife of 57 years, Wanda S. Knight; two sons, D. Victor Knight Jr. and Dan S. Knight, both of Vero Beach; two daughters, Paula K. Hindert and Audrey K. Richey, both of Vero Beach; a brother, C. Reed Knight Sr. of Ocala, Fla.; a sister, Francis K. Groth of Hendersonville, N.C.; eight grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews. Memorials may benefit Citrus Hall of Fame Fund, Florida Southern College, 111 Lake Hollingsworth Drive, Lakeland, FL 33801 or a charity of the donor's choice. Arrangements are with Strunk Funeral Home of Vero Beach.
PIONEER CITRUS GROWER
D. Victor Knight Sr. dead at 78
D. Victor Knight Sr., one of the pioneers of Indian River citrus died Wednesday afternoon at Indian River Medical Center. He was 78. "It was a cardiac problem that finally got him," his son, D. Victor Knight Jr., said Thursday. "But he was so tough, he never complained about anything. That's why we're all surprised."
Last Sunday, he said, his father was out hunting dove on the family ranch on 82nd Avenue. And a few weeks before, he said, his father was taking part in the ranch's cattle roundup. "He was right in the middle of the cowboys, branding the calves and parting out which ones to take to market and which ones we were keeping," his son said. "There was no 'quit' in him."
Wednesday was the 57th wedding anniversary of the elder Knight and wife, Wanda, his son said. About 3 p.m., he added, his father wasn't feeling well and lay back in his easy chair — and didn't wake up. The elder Knight was born in Vero Beach, a second-generation Floridian and was a lifetime resident of Indian River County.
Doug Bournique, executive director of the Indian River Citrus League, recalled the elder Knight as co-founder and president of Riverfront Groves, at 49th Street and U.S. 1, for 47 years. He changed the state's industry by introducing Texas' Star Ruby Grapefruit to Florida.
Knight was a longtime member and director of the Citrus League, where Bournique recalled him as a "rock solid" mentor and adviser any time there was an issue with the industry.
Whenever he asked Knight for advice, Bournique said, he didn't have to worry whether he was wrong. Knight was so well-rooted in the citrus business that he always had the right idea, Bournique said.
He said his admiration for Knight dates back to 1979. Bournique was 26, didn't know a soul in Vero Beach, and the directors were all in their 50s to 70s. But Knight and his wife invited Bournique to their home for barbecues and other events and extended friendship across the generation gap.
Former Gov. Claude Kirk, who appointed Knight to the Florida Citrus Commission in the 1960s, said he was shocked to learn of Knight's death. "He was one of a group of growers, all very competitive, but a very fine one," Kirk said.
Specifically: Burial Information Unknown
Created by: Vera Mikell Sodek
Record added: Jan 18, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 24031171