Remembering Bobby Knight

By pastorbillwalden

Yesterday, on February 12, 2012, Whitney Houston died.  She was known and adored by millions.  Today, February 13, 2012, Bobby Knight died.  He may have been known only by hundreds. Other than both of them expressing faith in Jesus, their lives could not have been more different.

Bobby was 52 when he passed.  He was mentally and physically handicapped.  He was strong enough to ride his full sized three wheel bike all over Napa, and he could often be seen pedaling around town.

During Christmas season, Bobby would decorate his three wheel bike, and ride around town.  His portable stereo would play Christmas carols, and he was a frequent entry in Christmas and seasonal parades, sometimes receiving recognition and awards for his creativity.

Bobby often called our church office, or would come by.  Sometimes he would be asking for financial help, but usually he had spiritual questions.  He listened to a lot of Christian radio and watched a lot of Christian T.V.  He often asked us about “last days” events, and why there was so much turmoil in the world.  The conversations were very repetitive.  Sometimes we didn’t have a lot of time to talk to Bobby, but most of the time we did. We were always willing to talk to him.  Sometimes we couldn’t, because he was relentless in asking Biblical questions and required a lot of time, but I never regretted one conversation I had with him.  It was always “real”, and there was no guile at all in Bobby’s heart. He was seriously concerned with evil in the world, as constantly asked if we were getting closer to the return of Jesus.

We shared Biblical truth with him as much as we could.  He carried around a notebook, or papers, with key Biblical phrases and verses.  It would help him remember what questions to ask.

Bobby really struggled with understanding the violence in Israel, and around the world.  He just could not understand why people treated each other so terribly.  It really upset him.  Bobby had a tremendously tender heart.

This last Christmas, Bobby watched our Christmas service on TV.  He loved the music so much that he made a special trip to the church to ask for a dvd of the music.  I am glad to have been able to burn that dvd for him.  He was thrilled.

Every conversation would end with Bobby saying the same thing: “I love Jesus, I really do.  And I love you guys, and I am praying for you.” I never doubted once that Bobby loved me, and that he had been praying for me.

I know that Bobby must have had a number of people helping him.  People who made special clothes to fit him.  People who rented a place to him.  I know he had a social worker.  His brother Richard also helped care for him.

I extend condolences to all who are saddened by Bobby’s passing, and I say thank you for helping Bobby make it in this world.  He could not have done it alone.

Bobby had the faith of a child.  That was the only kind of faith he could have.  His mental capacities were limited.  His body was limited.  But his heart and faith were huge.  I have no doubt, but that Bobby is now wonderfully, comfortably, and fearlessly in the presence of Jesus.

Editor’s Note- Plans for a memorial service are pending.  I will post here and on facebook when plans are finalized.

11 Responses so far

What a fitting tribute to Bobby, Pastor Bill. Bobby was quite a character. He did struggle with “end times,” and what that could ultimately mean. He did love Jesus! He came to the library book sales always looking for Christian music on cd’s; he couldn’t get enough. I know he also spent a lot of time at the library. Being patient with Bobby could be difficult, but I know that his faith was genuine. Now he is singing and dancing with Jesus!!! I imagine he also heard “Welcome in, good and faithful servant, welcome in.” God didn’t look at Bobby’s limitations but at his loving heart and never-ending belief in his son, Jesus! Will miss the three-wheeler with the Christmas tree and music going down the parade route.

I didn’t get to know Bobby very well, but I did see him the times that he came to the church or as he was riding his bike. I did know Ricky way back in the “80s. Bobby is now in heaven and does not have to worry about all the bad things that are happening in this world, but just enjoying being in the presence of the Lord. I pray for his family, that they may find comfort in the Lord and joy knowing that Bobby is in the best place anyone can ever be.

Years ago Joel Weldon recorded a song called “II’ll Miss You, Harry,” a tune about the passing of an friend who happened to be a special needs adult. Very moving song. You can give it a listen at:


I often wondered if Bobbie was an angel there was something very special about his innocent and sincere love for Jesus. I cannot even imagine how incredibly happy he is.

Thank you, Bill, a great tribute to a great and gentle heart!

For me, Bobby is an example of one who never questioned his faith but always questioned in faith; he had an insatiable desire to learn more about the end times and answer questions that will be debated until the end of time (literally).

The things of day-to-day life didn’t really concern Bobby; the evil in the world, suffering, those that oppose Jesus, the safety and well-being of the saints, and the things that would usher in the coming of Jesus were always on his mind.

In our conversations, though, we always got back to how Jesus will never let us go out of His hands, and that comfort was neat to witness.

I really look forward to engaging conversations with Bobby in heaven 🙂

RIP Bobby.. you will be missed.. I loved that he loved life.. I will miss seeing him around town dressed to the occasion for the holidays. He looked so happy at the Napa Holiday Parade this past December. I was happy to learn that he loved the lord. May he not worry about the world now and be at peace in Heaven. What a lovely tribute to Bobby that Pastor Bill Walden wrote. Thank you to all of you who watched over him.

Thanks everyone for your loving words about Bobby.

Connie, I sometimes wondered the same thing as you. The Bible speaks of ministering to “angels unawares”. I sometimes wondered if the Lord dropped Bobby into Napa to minister to people in ways that none of us could.

Regardless….he is experiencing perfect love and perfect peace.

I’m so sorry to hear that Bobbie has left us … but am so happy that he’s getting his questions answered by Jesus Himself. Bobby was very sweet and real with people. He had a lot of disabilities, but that didn’t stop him from reaching out to others and being involved in activities at church or in the community.
He’ll be missed.

When my son Joel would ask Bobby what he was doing, Bobby always told him, “waiting for Jesus!”. Pretty cool that his wait is over!! B

I went to school with Bobbie’s older brother Ricky. Both special needs boys, Ricky rode my Moms school bus. I will never forget the Knighjt Boys. RIP Bobby, God and his angels are Joy filled with your presence. <3

I just learned of Bobby’s passing and have to say I have a heavy heart. I had the pleasure of seeing and helping Bobby often, as he would regularly come into the Parks & Rec office to see what Special Needs events were coming up. He could get excited about the world news but he could be easily diverted by talking about upcoming events. He loved the fair, parades, dances, and the trips to River Rock and Rain Forrest Cafe. He had been anxiously awaiting the Valentine’s Dance scheduled for last Friday night. He planned to bring decorations and I helped him make a list of songs off a stack of his CD’s to have downloaded on the IPOD for the dance. I was looking forward to hearing all about it on his next visit to the office..RIP Bobby….you’ll be missed!

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