Mona’s daughter was full of life and laughter. A year after her mother’s death, she wrote a chatty letter to her grandfather Archie:
“My friend is having a house party. There are going to be nine girls…. We will take turns cooking. I’m afraid I’m not much of a cook but I can manage breakfast all right… Please congratulate Aunt Phyllis for me, she must be a very good golf player…”
Three years after Mona’s singing performance for the Governor-General and his wife, tragedy struck. On a Saturday night during the Christmas holidays, Mona was driving home when her car hit a patch of ice. It spun around and crashed into a taxi. Mona was thrown against the steering wheel and died from her injuries.
Left behind were her husband Herbert and three children: Archie (17), Barbara (15) and Philip (9).
In 1927, Mona gave a singing performance for the Governor-General (Viscount Willingdon) and his wife during their visit to Vancouver.
By 1921, Mona and her husband were running a busy household in Vancouver–with three children, a French nurse, and a Chinese cook named Wing.
The newlyweds went to live in Vancouver, where Mona’s new husband ran a successful law practice. Mona, who was a talented and successful singer, continued to study and perform. She was soon known as “one of Vancouver’s outstanding vocalists.”
December 27th, 1911. When Cyril’s sister Mona married an up-and-coming lawyer named Herbert Wood, two ministers conducted the service. Both were long-time friends of the Knight family. One was Rev. Malcolm MacGillvray and the other was Rev. Donald Gordon, principal of Queen’s University.
The wedding took place at Christmas time. Swarms of friends and family descended on Kingston to celebrate the event. During the ceremony, chimes pealed from the tower of Chalmers Church.
After Cyril’s death in 1960 at the age of 81, the Royal Society of Canada printed a memorial about him. It was jam-packed with notes about his accomplishments. He’d been the author or co-author of 44 papers, member of no less than 10 associations or societies, one of the founders of the Geological Society of Canada, and the recipient of a Coronation Medal, by command of Her Majesty the Queen, in recognition of his services to the geological profession. But, like his father Archie, Cyril preferred to keep a low profile. He was a down-to-earth person, who enjoyed a joke on himself.
He told a funny story about a visit to Haliburton, where he’d gone for a summer holiday. Noticing a labourer at the side of the road, digging a trench, Cyril stopped the car and asked “Any work going on at Fission Mines?”
To his delight, the workman replied, “Nope. Just a couple of geologists friggin’ around.”
This concludes the story about Cyril. Next up: his beautiful and talented sister Mona… Thanks for staying tuned!
Image: Photo of Cyril Workman Knight, circa 1923, [detail]. Photo courtesy of Mary Elizabeth Clark, Cobourg, Ontario, 8 August 2014, scanned by John Carew.