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US Navy


Robert Barker McKnight

July 16, 1924 ~ October 10, 2018 (age 94)


McKnight, Robert B., 94

Died on October 10, 2018.


Mr. McKnight retired after 28 years with Florida Power Corp. Where he held various Power Engineering and Construction project management positions. Later, he spent a year on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington, where 5 nuclear power plants were being engineered and under construction, as a Management Specialist. He then spent 12 years in College Station, Texas as Director of Operations developing a new electric utility system, including power facilities, large lignite mine and 500 miles of high voltage transmission facilities supplying power to four Texas cities. He then retired back to Weeki Wachee, Florida in 1991.


He was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota July 16, 1924. He moved to St. Petersburg, Florida with his grandparents in 1935. He attended Diston Jr. High then graduated from St. Petersburg Senior High in 1942. He enrolled in the University of Florida in 1942 during WW2 but enlisted in the Navy V12 program after his freshman year. The Navy sent him to Georgia Tech, Emory University then to midshipman school at Northwestern University where he received his naval officer’s commission in the Navy Reserve. He served as a deck officer and CIC officer on Navy destroyer escorts in the Western pacific then decommissioned ships on the US West Coast. He was released to inactive duty in 1946 and returned to the University of Florida. He married his longtime high school mate, Jean G. Geidd, and they were among the first occupants of Florida Vet 3 housing complex built for WW2 veterans at the university. He was a member of Phi Delta Theta, social fraternity, gargoyle, honorary fraternity and received a BA Degree in Architecture in 1951.


He was employed with Florida Power on many project sites in various management positions in engineering, construction and project management of some 19 power plant projects. While living in St. Petersburg, he was active in Little League Baseball for 15 years, a member of the Optimist Club (Friend of the Boy), Boy Scouting and he was a Master Mason. He served on the Edison Electric Institute committee for the development of electric power industry input for the conceptual planning of Disney World.


Survivors include his loving wife and companion of 71 years; Daughter, Betsy J. McKnight of Tallahassee; Sons, Patrick B. McKnight of St. Petersburg, R. Casey McKnight of Gainesville and Thomas G. McKnight of Jacksonville; Grandchildren Matthew Witters and Amanda Whitaker of Tallahassee, Casey B. McKnight and Ali McKnight of Tampa; P. Tyson McKnight of Switzerland, Caroline McKnight of Dade City and Kyle McKnight of Jacksonville. There are currently nine great grandchildren.

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