Benjamin George Knee (June 25, 1910 – May 10, 2004)
My father, Benjamin George Knee, was born in Safe Harbour, Bonavista Bay in Newfoundland on June 25, 1910. His parents were Benjamin George Knee (Sr.) and Sophie Ellen Dyke. From this marriage there was also a daughter, Jane (who married George Burton). However the extended family was larger than this due to the previous marriages of my father’s parents. My grandfather’s first marriage to Jane Coward produced two children; Lucy and David Knee. My grandmother’s first marriage to George Osmond produced four children; Pierce, Fred, Jane and Wilfred Osmond. This blended family remained connected over the passage of time and relocation.
Like others in his family and community, my Dad moved to Corner Brook as a very young man to find employment. He married Janie Attwood (also of Safe Harbour, daughter of Albert and Beatrice Attwood) in 1929 and together they raised a family of thirteen children. He was first employed with Bowater Pulp & Paper Company Ltd., and then entered the carpentry business where his skills excelled. He worked tirelessly and lovingly to support his family, often developing other skills to bring in extra income, eg. saw-sharpening and shoe repair. He retired as Secretary of the Carpenter’s Union at age 70.
My parents’ Christian roots, cultivated in the Safe Harbour Church and early home-life, led them to make a church affiliation with The Salvation Army in Humbermouth. Dad was enrolled as a Salvation Army Soldier in 1927. He served in various aspects of church life, including as a Salvation Army bandsman, League of Mercy member and as Young Peoples’ Sergeant Major for twenty-five years. In this latter role, he was very influential in the leadership and encouragement of many young people in their personal faith.
Over the years our family heard many stories of Safe Harbour and its people, especially when my father and Uncle Wilf (Osmond), who lived next door to us, got together. There was always a nostalgic and magical quality to the conversation surrounding their childhood experiences and memories of Safe Harbour.
My parents’ marriage of fifty-two years was a wonderful example to their children. Theirs was a happy home where love and respect for one another was shown, and where Christian teaching and values were uplifted.
My mother, Janie, passed away on August 25, 1981 in her seventy-fourth year. It was a great loss to my father as she was his childhood sweetheart. She was a beautiful and gracious lady who supported him in both the good and bad times. In 1985 my father married Susie Lewis, who survives him.
The following names are the living sons and daughters of Benjamin and Janie Knee:
Ben (Maude), Aux.Captain Douglas (Donna), Wilfred (Peggy), Frank (Joan), Effie (Harold – deceased) Ward, Mae (Wallace) Burt, Beatrice (Winston) Burt, Jean (Frank) Pilgrim, Major Audrey (Ray) Rowe, Dorothy (Aubrey) Budgell, and Major Doreen (Max) Sturge.
He was predeceased by an infant son Robert and two daughters, Pearl (Hubert – deceased) West and Ena (George) Shirran.
This article is contributed by daughter Audrey Rowe of St. John’s, NL on January 25, 2005.