Life of busi­ness owner Ed Knight mourned and cel­e­brated

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Tom Ta­tum

The fa­mous Span­ish painter Pablo Pi­casso once de­clared that “The mean­ing of life is to find your gift. The pur­pose of life is to give it away.”

No in­di­vid­ual has ever em­bod­ied that phi­los­o­phy more than West Ch­ester busi­ness owner Ed Knight.

Knight, who owned Culi­nary De­liv­ery on West Gay Street in West Ch­ester for al­most twenty years, passed away sud­denly on Oct. 28 at the age of 46.

The sense of loss felt by the West Ch­ester com­mu­nity as a re­sult of the un­ex­pected death of Knight was ex­ten­sive. Knight’s self­less phil­an­thropic ef­forts and do­na­tions were leg­endary through­out much of the town.

Knight’s life and legacy was cel­e­brated at a me­mo­rial ser­vice held on Thurs­day at the Delaware Vet­eran’s Me­mo­rial Ceme­tery where fam­ily, friends, and vet­er­ans of­fered glow­ing trib­utes and re­mem­brances of the man they so ad­mired and re­spected.

Among these were mem­o­ries of how Knight spear­headed and re-en­er­gized West Ch­ester’s 2012 Vet­eran’s Pa­rade and how he sup­ported lo­cal fire and po­lice com­pa­nies with do­na­tions, fundrais­ers and de­liv­ery of free piz­zas to ser­vice men and women.

Knight also pro­vided free food to vol­un­teer staffs when­ever there was a lo­cal tragedy, hired and men­tored col­lege stu­dents, and gave sup­port and co-mar­keted with count­less com­mu­nity busi­nesses. He of­ten do­nated to the West Ch­ester Com­mu­nity Cen­ter, YMCA, West Ch­ester Univer­sity, and the SPCA.

Knight’s per­sonal back story is as re­mark­able as his en­tre­pre­neur­ial gen­eros­ity. His early life as an Ecuadorian or­phan was for­ever al­tered when, at age 5, he and an­other or­phan, 3-year--

old Chris, were adopted by Tom and Josie Knight of Ken­nett Square.

The Knights trans­ported the boys from the Quito or­phan­age to their Ch­ester County home where Ed and Chris would be­come part of the fam­ily, join­ing the cou­ple’s two daugh­ters, Kim and Kerry. Ed Knight, who spoke only Span­ish when he first came to the United States, soon mas­tered the English lan­guage and ac­cli­mated to Amer­i­can cul­ture.

After grad­u­at­ing from Unionville High School, Knight at­tended Ed­in­boro State Col­lege be­fore en­list­ing in the United States Army. His mil­i­tary ca­reer was cut short as a re­sult of an in­jury he suf­fered early on. At that point he be­gan his culi­nary ca­reer work­ing in nu­mer­ous West Ch­ester restau­rants un­til fi­nally ac­quir­ing the Culi­nary De­liv­ery busi­ness in the 1990s.

Culi­nary De­liv­ery then be­came Knight’s home base from which he pur­sued his phil­an­thropic pas­sions. Those ef­forts were much ad­mired, par­tic­u­larly his will­ing­ness to give freely to those in need. From turkeys at Thanks­giv­ing to cook­ies and hot choco­late at Christ­mas, Knight would al­ways be there.

He was tire­lessly will­ing to pro­vide slices of pizza to hun­gry peo­ple who couldn’t oth­er­wise af­ford it. Knight was also known to hire those who most needed help.

In tes­ti­mony to his ex­treme self­less­ness, Knight never ac­cu­mu­lated any sig­nif­i­cant ma­te­rial wealth him­self. In­stead he built an enor­mous rep­u­ta­tion for char­i­ta­ble giv­ing and good will to­ward those in need, a legacy for which he will for­ever be fondly re­mem­bered.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

The late phil­an­thropic West Ch­ester busi­ness­man Ed Knight, right, with Kat Marien­feldHom­nack and Karl Wey­gandt.

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