Knighton, Cecil Claggett

July 14, 2006

CECIL CLAGGETT KNIGHTON, 87, a lifelong resident of Anne Arundel County and a well-known Annapolis business figure and philanthropist, died of heart failure July 12, 2006 at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis. The son of Cecil B. Knighton and Ida Belle Bassford Knighton was born November 5, 1918 on his family's farm in Birdsville. He graduated from Annapolis High School in 1936 and attended St. John's College for two years. In 1938, he married the former Martha Elizabeth Jones of Lothian and went to work for the J.E. Greiner Co. on the construction of the Potomac River Bridge. In 1940 he purchased Davidsonville General Store, which he sold when he entered military service in World War II, serving as a paratrooper. Returning from service, he purchased th Dunlop Tire Agency in Annapolis and reopened it as the Economy Auto Supply Co. located in the building he built on West Street, where the Ram's Head Tavern is now. Across the street, he purchased a building occupied by a Ford dealership and opened the Annapolis Nash Co., which he later moved to 175 West Street. He operated K & L Motors with his long time friend and business partner Edward H. Legum. In 1951 he built the Acme Supermarket at the foot of Main Street in the building now occupied by Fawcett Boat Supplies, Inc. In 1953 he stopped selling Nashes and opened a Plymouth and De Soto dealership in his location at 175 West Street. He was the original "Carzar". After constructing a store for The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company in Parole in 1958, Cecil and Martha purchased and operated the Star Theater located at the corner of Calvert and Northwest Streets from 1959 until they closed it in 1963. In 1966 they completed construction of West II Shopping Center. Cecil sold automobiles for Monarch Lincoln-Mercury in Baltimore and Bill Shulte in Glen Burnie in the mid 60's. After he became Lincoln-Mercury Salesman of The Nation in 1968, he moved to Roger's Chevrolet in Bowie in 1969, where he was a member of the Chevrolet Car and Truck Hall of Fame until he retired from selling cars in 1979. He managed his own real estate holdings in the 1980's and acquired properties in Bristol Tennessee and Bristol Virginia in the early 1990's. Following Martha's death in 1994 when they would have celebrated their fifty-sixth wedding anniversary, Cecil donated the Shelby Mansion and his apartment building to the Bristol Historical Association in her memory. In 1996, he entered into partnership with Michael J. Jangali and Behrouz Jangali to form Golden Gateway Enterprises, LLP. In 1999, he asked his partners to sell their property on inner West Street to the City of Annapolis, while he sold part of his wife's property on inner West Street and donated three additional pieces to the City of Annapolis for the construction of a parking garage in his wife's memory. The Cecil and Martha Knighton Parking Facility was dedicated by Mayor Ellen Moyer in November 2004. Known for his friendly manner, optimistic temperament, and charitable nature, Cecil Knighton loved telling stories and jokes and socializing with friends and family. He also enjoyed singing and listening to music. He was a fifty year member of Annapolis Masonic Lodge No. 89, having joined in 1947, and he was an avid follower of the Baltimore Orioles. Brought up in the Davidsonville United Methodist Church, he became a member of the First Church of Christ, Scientist in Annapolis in 1949. He was the brother of Laura Knighton Hersey of Davidsonville, who died in 1989. Surviving are his daughter, Cassandra Knighton Mc Hugh of Henderson, MD; his son, Laurence H. Knighton of Annapolis; two grandsons, James L.T. Knighton of Annapolis and Jonathan C.S. Knighton of Crownsville; his special friend Edna Fordyce of Laurel, MD, cousins, nieces and nephews, and a host of friends. Visitation will be from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. on Friday, July 14, 2006 at John M. Taylor Funeral Home, 147 Duke of Gloucester Street, Annapolis. Funeral and burial services will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Anne Arundel Medical Center Foundation, 2001 Medical Pkwy, Sajak Pavilion, Ste. 240, Annapolis, MD 21401 or the charity of your choice.

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