Elaine Averett Word Knight died peacefully on Sunday, September 26, 2021 with family by her side.
Elaine was born in Bartlesville, Oklahoma on May 24, 1939. She was the daughter of Dr. Lee Bailey and Allethia Word. Elaine recounted endless stories of “helping Daddy with house calls”, often being paid with chicken eggs or once even, a bicycle basket of pennies. She had joyful and tearful memories of bonding with her mother and brother as her father was gone for over five years in World War II. We believe that is when Elaine unknowingly became independent, resourceful and flexible at a young age. She also figured out how to have a lot of innocent and mischievous fun!
Elaine attended the University of Oklahoma where she was a member of Pi Beta Phi fraternity. She graduated in 1957 and moved to Houston, accepting a job as a medical technician with Hermann Hospital. Later in life, Elaine regretted not returning to medical school. She always held medical and healthcare professionals in the highest regard, a level of respect she learned from her father.
Elaine met the love of her life, Granville “Fella” Knight, Jr., a few weeks after moving to Houston and it was love at first sight. Elaine and Fella spent the early years working hard and vacationing when they could in Galveston and Acapulco. Later in life, with their three children, some of her fondest memories as a family were teaching us how to water ski over the hydrilla on Lake Conroe or enjoying the outdoors at Las Noches ranch in Beeville. When the family vacationed out of Texas, Elaine made us wear matching shirts “so we could quickly be found” in an airport or even a train station!
Elaine’s faith was her strength and beacon, as evident in the way she lived and treated others. She will be remembered as a thoughtful friend to many in her wide and open circle. She had no tolerance for judgment of others and loved unconditionally. When she wasn’t adding the finishing touch on a flower arrangement for a friend or flower show, she was an active tennis doubles partner and relished in competitive games from bridge to puzzling. She enjoyed having her home on the Azalea Trail, entertaining, and cooking for others – she was happiest with “kitchen drop-ins” through our back door.
Elaine was active in her community and was the “go-to” when something needed to get done. Committee meetings were numerous, and she held countless leadership roles. A few passions included her literacy advocacy while serving as the Pi Beta Phi alumnae president and civic fundraising efforts as chair of the River Oaks Garden Club Azalea Trail. Elaine enjoyed being connected with the Houston Calligraphy Guild, which provided another outlet for her creativity and beautiful touches.
Elaine’s preferred name was “Lovey” as her four grandchildren were her greatest source of pride and joy. Her influence in their lives will always be cherished.
Elaine is survived by her husband of 59 years, Fella; her three children – son Wade Lee Knight; daughter Amy Knight Miller and her husband De Miller of San Antonio and their two children, Elaine Averett (Avery) and John; son Brady and his wife Alexandra and their two sons, Thomson and Truett; her brother Bailey Word of Tulsa and his wife Janet, and her two nephews, Scott Word of Los Angeles, and Brad Word of Tulsa.
Profound gratitude for the love and support of countless friends and family who have helped us navigate the last years of her life. In particular, Sharon Austin, Anchor Hospice and the gentle staff at The Tradition.
Services will be held at St. Lukes United Methodist Church on Friday, October 1, 2021 at 11 o’clock in the morning. A reception will follow. The service will be livestreamed at https://www.stlukesmethodist.org/elaine-word-knight/
If you wish to honor Elaine’s memory, please consider a gift to Pi Beta Phi Foundation (ww.pibetaphifoundation.org/givenow), St. Lukes United Methodist Church (3471 Westheimer, 77027) or the Alzheimer’s Association of Houston (6055 S. Loop E Fwy, 77087).