Dwayne Floyd Knight was born at Thomas SD to Floyd Leslie and Harriet “Hattie” Elizabeth (Smith) Knight on the family farm, the oldest of four children in a musical family.
Fern Lavonne Beall was born near Cavour SD to Arba and May Beall on the family farm, the youngest of five daughters.
Dwayne went to a country school and graduated from Thomas High School in 1939. Dwayne sang his first solo at age of 3 in the Thomas Methodist Episcopal Church. He began piano lessons at age 8. He studied classical piano at McPhail Conservatory of Music in Minneapolis for 3 years. Sensing a call to the ordained ministry, he transferred to Huron College, graduating with a degree in music in 1944. He served as a student supply pastor at the Cavour, Richland and Pearl Creek Methodist Churches.
Fern attended the Richland Township School #4, and graduated from Cavour High School in 1939. She was an excellent basketball player, along with her sisters. The five Beall daughters attended John Fletcher College, Oskaloosa IA. With two sisters in college, and in the midst of the depression, Fern waited a year until more funds were available to attend college. She was active in basketball, debate and the Spanish Club. In 1940, she graduated with a degree in Home Economics. She taught two years at Lone Rock IA. She returned to South Dakota and taught at Erwin SD with her sister, Lois.
Dwayne was the student pastor of the Beall family Richland Church. They fell in love and were married June 20, 1944 at the Richland Methodist Church. For their honeymoon, they drove to Madison NJ where Dwayne attended Drew Theological Seminary, graduating in 1948 with highest honors.
Dwayne served Anderson, Changewater and Port Colden Methodist Churches, while attending Seminary. David and Noelle were born in Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, Brooklyn NY. Philip was born in 1952 in Miller SD.
Dwayne followed the ordination process of the South Dakota Conference of the Methodist Church. He was admitted on trial in 1943, ordained deacon and full member in 1946, and elected elder in 1948.
Together the Knight’s served United Methodist Churches in the South Dakota Conference: Conde (1948-52); Miller-Greenleaf (1952-55); Brookings (1955-1960); Mitchell (1960-1969); Aberdeen First (1969-72); Lead-Terraville-Lead Trinity (1972-1984). A partial record of ministry includes: 930 members received; 840 baptisms; 620 marriages; 780 funerals. They retired to their Boulder Canyon home in 1984. In retirement, Dwayne tuned pianos, and was the visitation pastor and choir director at the Sturgis United Methodist Church. He was recognized as Jubilee Clergy in 1992.
Dwayne was on a month long evangelistic mission to Panama, Peru, Chile and Bolivia South America in 1958. He directed many junior high camps at Lake Poinsett. He served on the Board of Trustees of Dakota Wesleyan University, Board of Directors of the Methodist Hospital and Board of Directors of Wesley Acres. He chaired the Methodist Conference Board of Ministerial Training. Dakota Wesleyan presented Dwayne with an honorary doctor of divinity degree in 1961.
In 1995 Dwayne and Fern moved to St Augustine FL to be closer to family. They greatly enjoyed their retirement years.
Philip died of hemophilia in 1967 at age 14. David died in 1987 at age of 41 of juvenile onset diabetes. He left behind his wife, Valerie and three teenaged children. The Knight’s are buried with their son, Philip, in the Graceland Cemetery, Mitchell.
They are survived by their daughter, Noelle and husband, Bill Farris, Ponte Vedra Beach FL; Valerie Knight Blomquist, Casco ME; brother, Leighton Knight, Beresford, SD; sister, Marian Trumm, Eureka, SD, Lois Hackbarth, Iowa Falls IA; grandchildren: Tandra Knight, Erin (Buddy) Goetzger, Philip D. Knight, Nicole (John) Buening; Carrie (Frank) Feldmann; great-grandchildren: Jonathon Feldmann, David Williamson, Justyne Feldmann, Kyle Goetzger, Keaton Goetzger, Hannah Buening, Lucas Goetzger, Cooper O’Hair, William Buening and cousin, Faye Sweet, Iroquois SD.