We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Ellinger-Kunz & Park Funeral Home & Cremation Service
Lennis Craig Knight, 76, of Gann Valley, SD, and Chatham, IL, passed away Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. Lennis was born July 5, 1946, in Chamberlain, SD, the son of Wayne and Bertha (DeJong) Knight.
Lennis grew up in Gann Valley, SD, and enjoyed working on the family farm in his retirement, including planting 500 trees last year alone. His long career as a USDA veterinarian for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service led him to work in many different states, including Illinois, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Michigan, and in southern Alberta, Canada, where he owned his own veterinary practice.
Lennis married Julie Spengler July 5, 2008, in Helena, MT, and the couple traveled often between their homes in Chatham and Highmore, SD, to their favorite camping area in central Michigan, and to visit their children in the Midwest and Canada. His work also took them to different U.S. ports to use his skills as an epidemiologist and inspector, and to horse racetracks, where he enjoyed the festivities as a spectator once work was complete.
He earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Kansas State University in 1973 and would often tell stories of his many odd jobs that paid his way through school and his early-in-life amateur boxing career. He had a penchant for nice Western shirts and cowboy boots, a booming laugh that could be heard across a room, great pride in his children and grandchildren, and a love for spoiling the family dogs with “snacks”.
Lennis is survived by his wife, Julie; siblings: Curtis Knight (Diane Bassham) of Gann Valley, Virginia Manning (Jim) of Arlington, SD, Debra Knight of Rapid City, SD, and Bruce Knight (Julie) of Fairfax, VA; five children: Tania Holzli (Andy) of Blackfalds, AB, Eric Knight of Coaldale, AB, Tiffany Knight (Vlad) of Toronto, ON, Jessica Knight (Josh) of Toronto, ON, and Dakota Knight of Sylvan Lake, AB; three stepdaughters: Jessie Burrell (Zachary) and Sarah McCoy (Jacob), both of New Berlin, IL, and Rachel DeGuzman (Jeremy) of Ann Arbor, MI; grandchildren: Brian, Scott, Hugo, Julius, Isadora, Florence and Evelyn; and great-grandchildren: Wakely, Westlynn and Wrylee.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
A memorial service will held at 2 p.m. Oct. 1, 2022, at First Presbyterian Church, 321 W. First Ave., Miller, SD. Lennis will be laid to rest at a future date at Spring Hill Cemetery in rural Gann Valley. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you plant a tree in Lennis’ memory.