Obituary: Knighten, John F.
This was posted to facebook by Chris Tabor:
Yesterday, Trish and I attended the funeral service for John Knighten, the husband of Trish's best friend. He was a firefighter here in Spokane for 19 years and a Marine before that. For the past 3-1/2 years, he fought multiple myeloma cancer contracted in the line of duty as a fireman. To say the service was moving and powerful would be a huge understatement. There was an honor guard, awesome slideshow videos made by Shawna's mom, Linda Messerschmidt, presentations by the fire dept, the mayor, and the governor, and a powerful performance of "Amazing Grace" on the piano by John's daughter Ashley. The service concluded with a "Last Alarm Call" for John where his station called for him over the radio and then announced that his duty had been completed. So sad and moving, not a dry eye in the house.
After the service, we were in the processional out to the veterans' cemetery in Medical Lake. They'd closed off a bunch of downtown and our route was lined with hundreds of firemen in front of their trucks, all saluting as we passed by. There were also hundreds of regular folks lining the sidewalk, saluting, hand over their heart, and so on. Such a powerful show of respect and honor. We were just overwhelmed by the display.
The state patrol closed down 8 miles of I-90 for our procession and also the entire road to the cemetery itself. When I looked behind us, I saw a line of fire trucks as far as I could see. They'd come from all over Washington and Idaho to pay their respects.
John was given full military honors at the cemetery, including a 21-gun salute, which is always such a shock to hear.
Besides the service itself, I was moved by the respect, dignity, generosity and brotherhood exhibited by the fire department itself. Hundreds of firefighters were there for the service and several more participated in it as well and the department was heavily involved in the logistics of the funeral itself. They also provided a few firemen who'd volunteered as drivers for people in the funeral party. Nate, the gentleman who drove us, could not have been kinder or more respectful and professional.
All in all, it was an awesome tribute to the life of a man who was loved and respected by many, many people and who gave his life in service to our community and country.
What an awesome site driving into downtown, it took my breath away I can only imagine what you were feeling. It was a beautiful celebration of John's life. When you are up for it I would love to get together. Keeping you and the girls in my thoughts and prayers.
I am humbled and overwhelmed to have witnessed the celebration of John today. He deserves it so much, and so do you. Amazing. Please let me know when you are up for visitors and we'll come see you at the house.
it was a beautiful service, Shawna. thank you for letting us view from a far. my heart hurt when i saw you. i loved hearing how you met...i think i remember that. the video tributes...beautiful. John had a stunning smile and loved you and your girls with deep love and so proud. never far apart, always in your heart. hugs.
My friend John Knighten passed away a little over a week ago. He was surrounded by his family. His crew from Station 4 were the first responders on scene. Multiple myeloma, a firefighting related disease, was what took him. He was a hero, having served with honor as both a firefighter and a Marine. He heard his last call bells this afternoon at his memorial service. He will be missed, and everyone who knew him admired him. I had to visit the local firehouse to pay my respects since I was unable to make the funeral service. It was really hard. The kids never knew him, but they know of him, and were happy to send along their own condolences to his family, in their own kid way. I will miss you John, when I think of what a hero is, it is you I picture.
June 8, 2013 declared a Day of Remembrance for John Knighten by Mayor Condon.Shawna Knighten, our love and condolences to you and your sweet girls.
That was a fantastic memorial service, Shawna. It was so nice to be able to watch it half way around the world since I wasn't able to be there in person. Big hugs to you and your family.
Jennifer Vincent Today is going to be a very big day for you and the girls. The firemen family have been so dedicated and thoughtful...attention paid to each detail....they're so wonderful!! I see today as a celebration of the way John lived his life. He was so selfless, so giving, and so in love with his family! He was a fighter to the end! I know he touched and inspired so many people before and during his journey...and like my dad did, he taught the medical community a lot...especially about not counting someone out no matter what the test results show. He had an extraordinary life...one that deserves to be celebrated today and always. I know he will be missed terribly....he made a big impression and someone like John can never be forgotten. My prayers are that you find comfort in the treasure trove of memories you and the girls share. I am lifting you all in prayer this morning. If I don't see you today, I will be there with love and support from wherever I am sitting, and sending you many hugs!! Love you!!!