Emily Ann Lewis-Knight
August 4, 1938 - May 21, 2017
Emily Ann Lewis-Knight passed away suddenly from an aortic aneurysm May 21, 2017 at Rogue Regional Medical Center. This was a known health condition in addition to her pancreatic cancer.
Emily was born August 4, 1938 in Burbank, California to Garnett Nadine Anderson and Herbert Jay Masterson. Her brother Herbert “Jay” Masterson was born three years prior and would be a lifelong friend.
When Emily was four, her father took ill due to lead poisoning contracted while working for Warner Brothers Studio building model ships used in war movies. A friend told the family about property for sale in the Rogue Valley, and in 1943 the family drove two cars packed with their belongings to a small farm on West Gregory Road near Camp White. Two years later they purchased an even bigger farm on Lozier Lane in Medford where Emily’s parents worked dawn till dusk to milk 30 cows by hand twice a day and candle by hand the eggs produced by over 35,000 chickens to sell to local restaurants.
Emily loved the freedom of life on the farm as a child, but it is also where she witnessed her parent’s incredible work ethic which she carried on throughout her life. She cherished time with her family, pets, and her horse who went everywhere with her, including to Oak Grove Elementary School.
Despite those war years being hard times financially for the family, Emily remembered those days as some of the best of her life.
Just before Emily entered high school the family moved to The Plaza apartments on Oakdale Street. Her parents managed the apartments and Emily kept very busy with work, school, and the occasional dates - carefully monitored by her protective brother.
Emily graduated from Medford High School in 1956. During high school she was active in Job’s Daughters and was Honored Queen of Bethel 14. She also worked early mornings in a local bakery prior to going to school. She was a majorette with the Medford High School marching band, smiling big and stepping high - even if she dropped her baton.
Prior to her death Emily attended bi-yearly events and monthly gatherings with her Medford High classmates, and cherished the lifetime friendships with these special people.
After high school graduation Emily moved to San Francisco and worked as a bartender. She then moved to Portland to work for American Foresters.
Gaining some life and work experience, Emily eventually found her way back home to the Rogue Valley. She began working as a bookkeeper for Clifford Everett Lewis, a Public Accountant whom she would marry in 1962. Despite divorcing, Cliff and Emily remained close friends and partners in parenting until his death in 1985 with her by his side.
Emily gave birth to daughters, Andrea Leslie Lewis (Polk) in 1967 and Melinda Ann Lewis (Shaw) in 1970. She was an incredible mother and friend who was known among the girls' friends for her straight talk, dry sense of humor, and genuine support no matter what was going on.
During the early years of her marriage and childrearing, Emily was active in volunteering at the local hospitals and preparing contestants for the Miss Rogue Valley and Miss Oregon scholarship pageants. Emily had modeled in both San Francisco and Portland and had a great eye for style all her life.
Emily earned her bachelor of nursing in 1979 while working and raising her two daughters. As a registered nurse she skillfully mastered many facets of her profession and throughout her career attained increasing responsibility and respect from her peers. She loved her patients and it was mutual. It was not uncommon for Emily to be out and about years after caring for someone and have them, or their family members touch her on the arm to stop and tell her how much her care had meant to them.
Emily worked at Rogue Regional Medical Center as an operating room nurse, at Providence Hospital as an emergency room nurse, and at several doctor’s offices in the Medford area throughout her career.
In the mid-1980s she became the director of nursing for Cascade Community Hospital (formerly in Central Point) and prior to her retirement in 2000 she worked in Quality Assurance for Health Future of Medford.
In August 1994 Emily married LeRoy “Tiny” Arthur Knight, who survives. Emily and Tiny met in childhood, dated in high school, and later reconnected at a high school reunion. During their 22-year marriage they weathered mutual health scares and financial ups and downs. They shared many special family memories and remained committed to moving forward in life together.
Emily was a past member of the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s Gold Diggers and the Zion Lutheran Church. She was a current member and past President of Chapter BE PEO and an active member of the Medford Congregational Church where she helped with the Congregational Care Team and the annual All-You-Can Eat Crab and Shrimp Feed which she enjoyed with family and friends.
Emily loved to cook and always looked forward to making divinity, fudge, and peanut brittle for her friends at Christmas. Most recently she was planning to move to Twin Creeks Retirement Living and her biggest concern was whether the wattage of the microwave she would have in her apartment would be ideal for making her peanut brittle.
She also loved her rose bushes. Three of these bushes were transplanted from her mother’s rose garden and starts will be placed in both her daughters gardens very soon.
People watching and people helping were Emily’s two biggest hobbies.
Emily radiated a unique warmth and compassion that beckoned others to her and encouraged them to tell her anything. Strangers quickly became friends and she didn’t mind a bit. Most recently she eased other's suffering by offering a compassionate ear even through her own struggles with cancer and chemotherapy treatments.
Emily leaves behind her loving family, husband, LeRoy “Tiny” Knight, of Medford; daughters, Andrea Leslie Polk (Ivan R.) of Grants Pass and Melinda “Mindy” Ann Shaw (Bill) of Deer Park, Washington; step-children, Danny Knight and Teressa “Tere” Knight; grandchildren, Eleanor “Ellie” Garnett Polk, Benjamin Michael Shaw, and Elizabeth Ann Shaw. In addition to an extended Masterson family in Hines, Oregon and special soul sisters (you know who you are) who never failed to love her unconditionally, with their whole hearts. Emily was preceded in death by her father, Herbert “Herb” Jay Masterson (1982); her mother, Garnett Nadine Anderson (1994); and her brother, Herbert “Jay” Masterson Jr (2012). Her ashes will be placed with her parents at Siskiyou Memorial Park.
A celebration of Emily’s life will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 17, 2017 at the Medford Congregational Church, 1801 E. Jackson Street, Medford, Ore. A brunch at the church will follow. Please note parking is limited so carpooling is encouraged. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in her name to the Medford Congregational Church or to the American Cancer Society.