Cover photo for Charles McKnight's Obituary
Charles McKnight Profile Photo
1945 Charles 2021

Charles McKnight

May 15, 1945 — May 28, 2021

Charles Alvin McKnight was born in Hinds County, MS to Alvin and Winnie Ashmore McKnight on May 15, 1945. He grew up in Jackson, MS as the second oldest of 4 siblings. His mother was a homemaker and his father owned and operated two Rexall drug stores. Family life growing up was rich and full of love as Winnie and “Mac” raised their children to honor God in all things.

Charles attended Southeastern Bible College in Birmingham, AL for one year and then was on to Ole Miss where he began Pharmacy School. In 1969 the military draft lottery threatened to terminate completion of his pharmacy degree, so he enlisted in the Army Reserve and then the Air National Guard. He completed his basic training at Fort Campbell, KY and later, returned to Ole Miss and earned his pharmacy degree. While finishing school, he met the great love of his life, and his future wife, Wanda Wilson. They married in 1972 and moved to Jackson, MS to begin a family.

Charles possessed a buoyant personality capable of turning any stranger into a friend in minutes. Subsequently, after graduation from Pharmacy school, he determined himself better suited for work in life insurance sales, as opposed to working behind a pharmacy counter. He joined Home Life of New York Insurance Company where he worked for many years earning his Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation. During his long insurance career Charles made many long-lasting friendships and enjoyed numerous epic adventures with his clients such as copiloting a crop-duster and enduring a “ride-along” with a police officer.

Wanda and Charles had 3 children: Matthew in 1975, Amanda in 1978 and Sarah in 1983. His family and faith came before all things. Charles and Wanda strove to ensure that each of their children clearly knew of God’s path for them. Family life, while often busy and in constant motion, was saturated with love and understanding. No matter the circumstance, you always knew that Charles loved you with an unconditional adoration that would never waver.

Charles was a man of strong Christian faith. He served as an Elder at Riverwood Bible Church while in Jackson, MS. He was a true family man who was so proud of each of his children and their accomplishments and was closely involved in their activities and interests. He was a devoted husband and a fun loving, adventuresome man. He was kind, funny, and spontaneous. Charles never met a stranger and sought to make new connections, always seeking to learn all about his new friends. He was a man of broad integrity who always put his family’s, or his clients’ needs before his own. He was a true southern gentleman, even until the end.

Charles had many interests and hobbies such as duck hunting, golfing, backpacking along the Appalachian Trail, sailing The British Virgin Islands, camping with his family and friends, karate and playing the ukulele. He loved to read, and commit to memory, scripture from the Bible. Classic country music, the Grand Ole Opry and the Smokey Mountains were among his most favorite things. Charles’ star shone brightly, and he will be greatly missed by many.

He passed away on May 28, 2021 from complications due to Alzheimer’s disease.

As Mac Davis would sing, many years ago, Charles could also be overheard crooning, “Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble, when you’re perfect in every way.” Today, he truly is. Everyone who knew him will miss Charles immensely.

He is preceded in death by his parents, sister and brother-in-law, Ann Camille and Ed Anderson and his youngest daughter, Sarah McKnight Ranta. He leaves behind his sister Libby (Gene) McGahey of Denver, brother Tim (Pat) McKnight of Ireland, sister-in-law Marsha (Barry) of Pensacola, Wanda Wilson McKnight, his wife of 49 years, his son Matt (Ashley), daughter Amanda (David) Schulter and son-in-law Erick Ranta. He leaves behind 6 grandchildren, Powers, Jacob, Madeline, Charlie, Ashmore and Evan, all in Memphis.
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