The Celebration of the life of
The Rev. Jan Vickery Knost
Friday, May 20th at 2pm
At First Church and Parish in Dedham
670 High Street, Dedham, MA 02026
and live streamed or recorded available here
on or after that date
KNOST, The Reverend Jan Vickery Passed away peacefully at home in Charlestown, Rhode Island, on Sunday, August 22, 2021, with his beloved wife of 60 years at his side. True to form, always with a flair for the dramatic, he died just as Hurricane Henri made landfall over his home, and right when the power went out.
Born in Pasadena, California on November 19, 1934 to Reverend Richard William Knost and Rosalie (Quigley) Knost, Jan led an extraordinary life, and lived each moment to the fullest. He was raised all over the United States as his father ministered to churches in California, then Brewton, Alabama, and finally in Peoria, Illinois. Jan graduated from Peoria High School in 1952 and ventured off to college at the age of 16.
A brilliant man and lover of knowledge, he went on to build an impressive educational career, earning both his Bachelor of Science in Psychology and his Master's of Divinity at St. Lawrence University. From there, he pursued further theological and graduate studies at Harris Manchester College at Oxford University, as well as Boston and Brown Universities. Throughout life, he delighted in reminiscing about his joyful experiences performing as a founding member of The Singing Saints acapella group of St. Lawrence University - even performing on the Steve Allen Show in 1954.
Ordained as a Unitarian minister in 1961, he built a beautiful career of ministry to others, serving various congregations in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Texas, Florida and New Mexico, only finally retiring from active ministry in 2016. His ministerial career spanned seven decades and he touched the lives of countless people with his quick laugh, spiritual wisdom, enormous loving hugs and deep compassion for humanity. A lover of words and poetry, he was an avid writer and reader, as well as author of several books and poetry: Vertical Thoughts and Horizontal Comments (1963), Easter's Epic Testament (1970), Thanksgiving Saga (1971), Canto to Christmas (1972), The Invisible Sun (1975), and Word Cairns (2016). But he would tell you, his greatest work was written just for his beautiful wife, Lorna Ruth (Smith) Knost whom he met and married in Providence, Rhode Island in 1961.
In addition to his ministerial career, he served, proudly and faithfully as Chaplain and Member of the Lodge of St. Andrew in Boston, Massachusetts since 1972. In addition, Jan devoted much of his life to social justice work. Marching for racial equality was as important to him, as fighting for world peace and nuclear disarmament.
Despite his prodigious opus of his career and writing, he would emphatically proclaim that his proudest achievement was his devoted and loving family. He leaves behind and is mourned deeply by his wife of 60 years, Lorna Ruth; his son, Keith William Knost; his daughter, Kristan Beth Knost McCarthy and her husband Mike; his daughter Jana Marcy Knost Battiloro and her husband, Chris; and his daughter Amy Kathryn Knost Connor and her husband Patrick, Jr. He is survived, as well, by nine beautiful grandchildren, whom he would happily show pictures of to any stranger in a grocery line who happened to catch his eye. They are Anna Brielle Butler, Jonah Nathaniel Butler, Jensen Cole Butler, Katherine Jan McCarthy, Linnea Faith Battiloro, Christopher Zachary Battiloro, Meghan Elizabeth Battiloro, Haley Bridget Connor and Patrick Michael Connor, III. He is also survived by his brother, Dr. Peter Noel Knost of Tavares, Florida.
Jan passionately embraced and devoured life. From youth he delighted in athletic success in everything from scuba diving to skiing as well as savoring his lifelong bonds with teammates through volleyball and softball. He was just as quick to recite a quote from Shakespeare as he was to break out into song in any random time or environment, including the many musicals in which he starred throughout his adult life. Jan seized any opportunity to grab a peaceful moment fly fishing or watch his precious birds out the back window in the quiet early morning hours. His love for the Boston Red Sox, any round of golf, and time with friends at the table were just a few of the innumerable examples representing Jan's daily zest for life. He spent many summers happily lobstering and fishing the waters of Hingham harbor. He savored any beautiful aria, especially by Mozart, or entertained with his own glorious baritone voice that rose just higher, sometimes, than his church choirs. He was content to make ice cream with his grandchildren, or sit and watch old Hollywood movies time after time. His joy for life will live on in his family, and through his devoted dog, Preacher. He will be missed, deeply, every single day, by so many. He believed in and lived by the words of Henry David Thoreau, "to suck out all the marrow of life."
There will be a Memorial Service at a date to be determined at First Church & Parish in Dedham, Massachusetts. Although cards are welcome, in lieu of flowers, please consider donating to a cause in Jan's name, that will contribute to the greater good of humanity.
Published by Boston Globe from Aug. 24 to Aug. 25, 2021.