Cover photo for Nancy Knight's Obituary
Nancy Knight Profile Photo
1930 Nancy 2016

Nancy Knight

May 8, 1930 — June 11, 2016

Nancy Willis Roby Knight passed away on Saturday, June 11, 2016, in the family home. Nancy was 86 years old and had been in the care of her loving daughter, Barbara (Knight) Roper for five years, moving to Barbie's home not too long after the passing of her beloved husband, Tommy, in 2010.

A long-time New Mexican, Nancy was born in Henry, IL, in 1930. She moved to Las Cruces, NM, with her mother Clara Brown Roby and sister Betty Roby (Patterson) in 1942. The family was joined in Las Cruces by their father Luther Lane Roby after he concluded his war-time obligations as a brass and bronze factory owner in Cleveland, OH.

Nancy took to life in NM with a fervor, embracing the opportunities to work with animals and in nature. Growing up in the Mesilla Valley, Nancy told many stories in later life of her beloved childhood animals, including the burro she rode to school each day. She also spoke volubly and with great love of the two amazing friendships she formed in Junior High School in Las Cruces. These two women, Joan Hoskins (Faubion) and Barbara Funkhouser, formed a friendship with Nancy that spanned 70+ years and ended only as they each passed from life.

At heart, Nancy was, even from the early days, an artist and an animal lover and caregiver. This was demonstrated in her youth as she thrived in animal husbandry, particularly with her sheep, and also in her artistic success as a painter of the natural world, mostly with animals and landscapes.

In college at NM A & M, Nancy met a wild, young cowboy and former Marine, Thomas (Tommy) Knight. Tommy was attending college on the GI Bill. In 1950, Nancy and Tommy married and moved to rural Lincoln County to begin a life on Tommy's family ranch near Ancho.

The next few years were a time of tremendous hard work and perseverance as Nancy and Tommy forged a new home in rugged, isolated land with few amenities. Living initially in a homestead with no electricity or running water, Nancy and Tom began a young family, welcoming Daniel (Danny) Roby Knight in 1951 and Barbara (Barbie) Allen Knight in 1954.

The years carried on, and Nancy and Tom moved to their own portion of the Straley family ranch and built a new home. Nancy continued with her natural talents, serving as a leader, a teacher, and a mentor to many young people in Lincoln County. As a 4-H Leader, Nancy taught years-worth of young 4-H'ers many aspects of agricultural life, with her registered sheep being one particular love but teaching many topics, including Feeds and Feeding, Grass Identification, Genetics, and Judging of all types of livestock, with a special emphasis on Reasons. Working tirelessly at countless years of county, regional, and state fairs, Nancy's leadership was invaluable to the youth of the county. Nancy also continued with her art, becoming well known for her animal portraiture and often being sought out to capture the images of particularly beloved animals.

In September, 2002, Nancy was inducted into the New Mexico 4-H Hall of Fame at the State Fair in Albuquerque. Over the years, Nancy was also a member of the county Farmer's Home Administration board, the Carrizozo Hospital Administration board, and CowBelles.

In later years, Nancy also became a grandmother, with five grandchildren (Renee Roper Beltran, Shad Roper, Ryan Roper, Jana Knight, Roby Knight) and two "honorary" grandchildren (Eli Avila Barela and Abel Avila); Nancy also had 13 great-grandchildren. Nancy is preceded in death by her son, Daniel (Danny) Knight and husband Thomas (Tommy) Knight. She is survived by her sister Betty Roby Patterson and by her daughter, Barbara (Knight) Roper and son-in-law David Roper, as well as her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Nancy also had many, many years-worth of beloved four-legged companions of all varieties that served as loyal friends and were of great pleasure to her.

Services will be held on Thursday, June 16, at 11 am at the Ancho Church with graveside services following at the Ancho Cemetery. A potluck meal will follow with meat and beverages being provided. If you should wish to make a gift in honor of Nancy, the family will be setting up a fund for a special memorial with the Lincoln County Fair Association (checks can be made to LCFA).

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Nancy Knight, please visit our flower store.


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