|Alton A. McKnight was the son of Adolphus Able McKnight and Clara Edna Brown. He was born in Ascension Parish, Louisiana, and lived his entire life in that state. As a boy he attended the Oak Grove High School but never finished high school until years later when he was pastor of the Pine Grove Charge. For his education he attended Emory Junior College and Asbury College, plus some mighty hard study all of his ministerial life.
On April 23, 1929, he was married to Mary Daniels and to that union were born Shirley Jean and Alton, Jr. He is survived by his wife, one daughter, one son and four fine grandchildren. Funeral services in the Rayville United Methodist Church were conducted by Henry Bowdon, Sr., J. Henry Bowdon, Jr., and William Haskell. During his forty-two and one-half years in the ministry he served churches in Angie, Pine Grove, Springfield, Denham Springs, Amite, Leesville, News Orleans, Cedar Grove and Rayville. For several years he served as the Superintendent of the Masonic Home for Children in Alexandria. He retired from the Rayville Church, which showed their love and devotion to him by helping to erect a Retired Minister’s home in Rayville, which he and Mary occupied until his death.
Alton had many qualities that made him a very effective minister. He was great in his humility. It was in deep humility that he surrendered his life to God more than a half century ago. From that day until his death he never forgot that he was God’s man. The Church, the Masonic Order and the community conferred upon him many honors, yet amid it all he never thought of himself more highly than he ought to have thought. With all his humility he dared to do what he thought was right. No one ever wondered what side of any question he stood on for he was positive about his convictions.
He was great in his sincerity. I have followed his course in the ministry since the day we began more than fifty years ago and I know it was his utter sincerity that enabled him to do some of the things which he did. His sincerity was the kind that generated confidence, trust and enthusiasm in the people he served. He brought out of every congregation he served the best that was in it.
He was great in his service. No man ever worked harder at his job than did Alton McKnight. He was not content to be the pastor of the church he served, but he was active in every worthwhile cause in his community. He served upon many important committees and commissions of the church and always with distinction. He never offered his Master second rate services, he always gave his best.
He was great in his friendships. He made friends easily because he showed himself friendly. He cared about people. All over the state of Louisiana there are countless people who were glad to call him their friend. It was a joy for me to be numbered among his friends.
Alton McKnight was great in his faith and strong in his beliefs. He made no attempt to force his opinions upon others, but he was fully persuaded that God was able to keep that which he had committed unto him against that day. His faith vitalized the Gospel which he preached. His faith gave him victory in life and triumph in death. It can truly be said of Alton McKnight what Lincoln said of himself, “Die when I may, I want it said of me by those who knew me best that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower wherever a flower will grow.”
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference, 1975; p. 182 By J. Henry Bowdon, Sr.|