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Published: Thursday, 7/20/2006

Philanthropist was active civic leader

Marion Weir Knight, a local philanthropist and civic leader who was an early proponent of Planned Parenthood and a delegate to the Republican National Convention in the 1950s, died on Tuesday in her Perrysburg Township home, where she lived for more than 60 years.

She was 91 and had been in poor health for four years and completely blind the last three, her son, Christopher, said.

"She's just one of the most magnificent human beings," said Duane Stranahan, who knew Mrs. Knight since the end of World War II when she moved with her husband, Edward Ford Knight, known as "Eb," to what had been his grandmother's home on River Road in Perrysburg Township. "She and Eb did more good works for northwest Ohio than any couple I can think of," Mr. Stranahan said.

Mrs. Knight took pleasure in giving to Planned Parenthood, Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo Orchestra Association, Toledo Society of the Blind, and research in macular degeneration.

She began volunteering with Toledo's Community Chest, a precursor to today's United Way, and Planned Parenthood almost as soon as she arrived in the area. She was president of the Planned Parenthood League of Toledo and served on its state board as well as on numerous other boards in the late 1940s and early '50s, including Maumee Valley Country Day School and Toledo's sesquicentennial celebration. She was Ohio's national representative to the Citizens for Eisenhower, and appeared on national network television in her political work that took her to the Republican National Convention.

"When she gave of herself to the things she believed in, she gave extremely generously," Mayor Carty Finkbeiner said.

A Cleveland native, Mrs. Knight graduated from Vassar College in 1936 with a liberal arts degree. She then went to Kentucky with Frontier Nursing Services and worked as a courier delivering medicines and supplies by horseback to areas that could not be reached by car.

She was introduced to Mr. Knight, a son of the industrialist W.W. Knight, Sr., by a mutual friend. When they married in 1940, he was a lieutenant in the Marine Air Corps.

Mr. Knight died in October.

Surviving are her daughter, Lynn McAtee; son, Christopher; seven grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will begin at 11 a.m. tomorrow in St. Timothy's Episcopal Church, Perrysburg. The Witzler-Shank Funeral Home, Perrysburg, handled arrangements.

The family suggests tributes to Hospice of Northwest Ohio.



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