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Emeritus professor of English remembered

Jan 17, 2018

Professor Emeritus Robert Tolman Knighton passed away Dec. 22 in Stockton.

Knighton, 82, was an English professor and taught at University of the Pacific from 1967 until he retired in 2001.  

"Bob was intelligent, demanding, warm and kind," said Susan Giraldez, chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literature and one of Knighton's former students.  

Knighton received the Faye and Alex G. Spanos Distinguished Teaching Award in 1994 in honor of his career teaching and mentoring students.  

"A whole world opened up for me because of him. He challenged and pushed us," Giraldez said. "I never worked harder in a course or felt more excited about a grade than I did about the A- on the paper I wrote about 'The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum.'"    

Patrick McDowell '81, who is now the Wall Street Journal's Southeast Asia bureau chief, remembered Knighton as a "solid man and a tough-love kind of professor" who appreciated grit and the ability to learn from criticism.  

"(He) twice recommended me for a Rotary scholarship for a graduate journalism program in London that changed my life," McDowell said. "Bob would go out of his way for you if he thought you showed persistence."  

Knighton supported Amnesty International, St. Jude's Children's Hospital, Cancer research and disabled veterans through charitable donations.  

Knighton is survived by his wife Letha Claudette, his sons Daniel and Jonathan and his daughter Crystal Eunique.   Private interment will be at Cherokee Memorial Park in Lodi.  

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