Life of business owner Ed Knight mourned and celebrated
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.
The late philanthropic West Chester businessman Ed Knight, right, with Kat MarienfeldHomnack and Karl Weygandt.