Most of us knew Samuel McKnight as the veteran journalist, fearless crime reporter, avid football fan, a man of the arts and a political activist.
With such a plethora of activities it really speaks to the mettle of the man when during his funeral service at the Faith Assembly International Church, we were reminded of McKnight the husband, father, grandfather and all-round family man. A man who ran a disciplined household where education was key.
“Daddy was a stickler for schoolwork,” his son Duane reminisced through his tears.
“Every night after we ate dinner, we had to watch the news, we had to keep up to date with our current affairs, but no matter how much we tried, nobody could contest the memory of Samuel McKnight, he was our social studies textbook,” his daughter Nikisha Chester said while flanked by Mc Knight’s four other children.
They all said his calling their names in his deep baritone voice was enough to let you know that he heard the misuse of a subject-verb agreement. But it’s the same voice that they said melted their mother Sylis Perryman-McKnight’s heart many years ago, whom he met in a twist of fate after being forced to take a year off from Holy Cross College after breaking his leg playing football.
His reputation for fearless journalism was also remembered. His son Duane recalled a dinner table story where he told them about an assignment he went to where residents were not pleased to see members of the media and actively chased him away and despite having to run for his life, “You know he got up the next morning and went back there to do the work again, they didn’t stop him.”
And while there were members of the media fraternity in the congregation, there were also some well-known political members of the People’s National Movement, such as Eddie Hart and current Member of Parliament for Tunapuna, Esmond Forde. In a video tribute to McKnight, they thanked him for his service to his party, even serving as a campaign manager for one of the local Government candidates.
But it was McKnight, the father that took centre stage.
His daughter Candace McKnight-Greenidge spoke about the man who would ballroom dance with her in the living room, the father she snuggled next to before being chased away by her mother.
She remembered his words right before she got married.
“Fast-forward to walking up to the aisle, he kept telling me, Candace we can turn around and go you know, just say the word and we’ll leave, if we reach up there, there’s no turning back, now is the time.”
Listening to this all, it was hard-pressed, to sum up his contribution to this life and presiding pastor Cheryl Ann Cardinez sought to underscore: “He did live!”
But his daughter Jennelle McKnight summed it up perfectly,
“So farewell to my daddy, the world’s best journalist, crime reporter, all fours player, sportsman, historian and father.”