Cover photo for Rufus Knight, Jr.'s Obituary
Rufus Knight, Jr. Profile Photo
1944 Rufus 2023

Rufus Knight, Jr.

November 8, 1944 — April 16, 2023

Rufus Knight, Jr. was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia on November 8, 1944 to the late Rufus and Bertha Knight. He was baptized at an early age and joined Union Baptist Church in Virginia Beach. He married  Loretta Swindell Knight on August 4, 1973. God blessed their union with a loving son, Rufus Oscar Knight, a devoted daughter-in-law, Laura Trovato Knight, and a precious granddaughter, Julia Alyse Knight. He was a committed and steadfast supporter of his family.

In addition to his wife and son, he is survived by his daughter-in-law and granddaughter of Silver Spring, Maryland. He is also survived by his brother, Louis Knight (Rani) of Indian Head, Maryland; sister, Geneva K. Johnson of Fredericksburg, Virginia; brother-in-law, Walter Swindell (Mildred) of Lanham, Maryland, and Reverend James Swindell (Annie) of High Point, North Carolina; and numerous nieces and nephews, including devoted nephews, Leo Purnell of Hamilton, Georgia, and Lester Purnell of Omaha, Nebraska; his devoted caregiver of several years, Diane I. Monroe of Gladys, Virginia and many cousins and friends.

He graduated from Princess Anne County High School (Virginia Beach, Virginia), Norfolk State College (Norfolk, Virginia), and Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, Virginia). He was a star athlete on the high school and undergraduate levels. He was a member of the Norfolk State Chapters of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and the National Society of Pershing Rifles.

After graduating from Norfolk State College, he served four years of active duty in the United States Army. In 1972, he accepted employment with the Lynchburg City Schools and continued to serve his country through enlistment in the United States Army Reserves. He retired from the Reserves in 2000. During his military career, he was recognized for his dedication and leadership skills, particularly in his role of Drill Sergeant.

Upon settling in Central Virginia, he joined the Cross Road Baptist Church. He found great joy in serving God through various capacities in the church. Some of his work included Sunday school teacher, usher, tenor on the gospel chorus, vacation Bible school teacher, noonday Bible study teacher at Agape Center and Deacon Board membership including the five years he served as chairman.

Coach Knight (as he was affectionately called by many) dedicated thirty-seven years toward helping young people in the Lynchburg City Schools to become their best both athletically and personally. His coaching/ teaching career began at Sandusky Middle School where he taught Industrial Arts and coached football and track.

He transferred to Heritage High School in 1977 and spent the next twenty-two years teaching electronics and coaching football, indoor and outdoor track. He held the positions of Assistant Football Coach, Assistant Track Coach, and Head Track Coach.

He enjoyed working with a long list of wonderful colleagues which included Coach Jimmy Green, the late Coach Wally Gilbert, and his dear friend Coach Mike Bennett.

Some of his greatest delights came in witnessing his young track athletes win Boys & Girls State Championships. He was humbled by being named Seminole District Indoor and Outdoor Track Coach of the year on several occasions. In 2011, he was inducted into the Heritage High School Hall of Fame.

He retired from Lynchburg City Schools in 1999 and volunteered with the track team for the next ten years.

The last years of his life held many health challenges. In spite of it all, he continued to give thanks to God and accept His will for his life. He always expressed appreciation for the outpouring of love, care, and concern from his church family, friends, and healthcare professionals including Reverend William J. Coleman, Deacon and Mrs. Louis Edwards, Mr. Anthony Tisdale, Mrs. Diane Monroe, Dr. Thomas Eppes, Dr. R. Lee Saunders, Dr. Joe Spagnola, Jr., Mr. John Blanks and the staff of Autumn Care, Altavista, Virginia.

After a long and courageous battle with Parkinson’s, Rufus Knight, Jr. went to be with his Lord on Sunday, April 16, 2023.

An early morning graveside service (as he requested) will be held at 7:00 am Wednesday, April 19, 2023 at Cross Road Baptist Church, located at 191 Cross Roads Lane, Evington, VA. A memorial service will then follow at 11:00 am at the church.

Note: There will be no public viewings held at any time (as he requested).

….When my task on earth O Lord is ended, grant me a home above.

Acknowledgment- The family extends sincere appreciation for all acts of kindness conveyed throughout this difficult time.

Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Lynchburg, is assisting the family.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Rufus Knight, Jr., please visit our flower store.


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