Retired Mesa rector turns a young 107 - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Retired Mesa rector turns a young 107

August 7th, 2019 development
Retired Mesa rector turns a young 107

By Jordan Houston

Staff Writer


Tattered copies of paperback books — such as “Nobel Prize Conversations” and “Theosophy: A Modern Expression of the Wisdom of the Ages” — decorate the bedside table of what may be Mesa’s oldest resident, Father Harold Knight. 

“That’s a very good book. I’ve read it a number of times,” he said about “Nobel Prize,” by Sir John Eccles, Roger Sperry, Ilya Prigogine and Brian Josephson.

The retired longtime rector of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Mesa, lover of philosophy and psychology and Mesa Citizen of the Year, turned 107 on  July 26.  

The church, at 322 N. Horne St., hosted a card shower after the service July 28 for friends and family members to express how much he means to them. 

Knight was a rector at the church for 20 years—the longest-serving rector in its 103-year history. 

The centenarian currently lives at home with his wife of 46 years, Edithanne, and attributes his longevity partly to her cooking.

The other part, he joked, is from DNA. 

“No one else in my family has ever done this,” he said. “Something like this age, I think, is in the DNA molecules somewhere. I credit that. How it got there, I don’t know.” 

Knight was born in 1912 into a Baptist family in Rochester, New York. 

“I had a father who was very attentive and very kind. He gave me a lot of time, and I appreciate that,” Knight said. In 1957, Knight moved across the country to follow an ad in the paper for a rector, beginning his 20-year tenure at St. Mark’s in Mesa. 

While the city had only a population of only 26,000 at the time, Knight witnessed growth in both Mesa and the church’s congregation throughout the ’50s. 

When the present church was built in 1981, a designated event space was renamed Knight Hall in the rector’s honor. 

“I did a lot of things in town. We had a group in Mesa called the Mesa Community Council, which was a group to look into things we might need to be done,” he said.

He was named Mesa Citizen of the Year in 1977.