Obituary for John Scott Knifton

John “Scott” Knifton

September 15, 1954-February 19, 2018


John “Scott” Knifton, age 63, was taken from this world on Monday, February 19, 2018 at 1:43 a.m. from an apparent heart attack at his longtime Salem, Oregon residence.


Scott was born in Des Moines, Iowa, on September 15, 1954. At about 18 months he was adopted by Charles and Katherine Knifton and moved to Golden, Colorado. He grew up within reach of the Coors brewery in one direction (and was known to sneak into the tasting room with his friends) and the Jolly Rancher candy factory in the other direction (Scott and his friends were of course unofficial taste testers).


Scott’s father bought him a black stallion named Pogo. Within three months the horse was sold when he became unmanageable for the stable and Scott—the horse kept jumping out of his stall much as the performing Lipizzaner’s. The next horse that came to Scott was a Palomino mare he named Taffy. Scott and Taffy joined the Westernaires drill organization where they excelled as “Indians” and Scott became very adept with the bull whip. Scott was one of the Westernaires team hired by MGM to help portray the Indians in the filming of the 1963 movie “How the West Was Won.”


Scott was on track to become an applicant for the Olympic Men’s Giant Slalom event prior to the loss of his Uncle and the sponsorship that he provided. Scott’s family was forced to move from Colorado due to his father’s health. Settling outside of Newberg, Oregon, Scott soon found the mountains and became a member of the Mt Hood Ski Patrol.


During mid 1969 Scott was in the care of his older sister while their parents were away. Scott’s sister and her boyfriend wanted to attend a concert and so the three of them took a plane trip to Woodstock, NY.


Prior to graduating High School, Scott enlisted in the Navy where he obtained his diploma and became a Radioman 1st Class serving on the USS Canopus AS-34 in Holy Loch, Scotland. While in Europe, Scott was able to do extensive research on his parent’s British and Irish ancestries. In preparation for his discharge, Scott purchased a Norton motorcycle and was returned to the States. Prior to full discharge Scott sold his new Norton to a dealer (the States had not even heard of that particular model) and used the funds to buy a showroom model Harley Davidson. With his discharge, Scott chose to follow the trail west as the pioneers had but on his “iron horse.” Arriving home in Oregon, Scott’s father asked him to move back home as he had realized how little time they had spent together while Scott was growing up. Scott and his best friend agreed to rent the Caretaker’s Cottage. Six months later Scott was summoned by his mother to perform CPR for his father who died of a final stroke.


Scott married and was divorced within five years. He found happiness with his second wife, Hazel which lasted 25 years prior to her death from ovarian cancer in 2012. Believing he could never be so lucky again Scott was bullied into going on a date with his third wife Elizabeth.


Scott and Elizabeth enjoyed a number of trips to the coast, garage saleing, the care of their home and yard, just taking off for a drive without knowing the destination, and their family. Scott found this new chapter of his life to hold a few surprises such as Elizabeth’s cousin that could pass for his brother and the acquaintance with a cousin by marriage that was his high school friend. Perhaps the biggest surprise to Scott was the pleasure he found with their eight year old black and white Tuxedo cat, Emily. A dog person, Scott found himself sharing his plate with Emily most nights, scratching her back on demand at any time of the day, playing with the laser, and generally following Emily’s orders to feed her at the prescribed times.


Scott will be remembered for his ability to tell a story, make friends wherever he went, his knowledge of classic cars, and a wide ranging knowledge of music. Scott was a gentle, caring individual that thought he had the best job in the world working with Willamette Valley Transport as a medical transport driver. In whatever he did he gave 200% of himself, often at his own expense. Scott was excited and happily looking forward to his future having just purchased a Harley Davidson Electra Super Glide the first of February.


Scott and Elizabeth made a trip to Medford, Oregon on Saturday ahead of the forcasted snow storm to pick up her birthday present—an eight week old Yorkipoo named Coco. Scott was never afraid to show his pleasure and as such the last memory Elizabeth has of Scott is that of him laying full out on his stomach on the floor playing with Coco at 10:00 p.m. before going to bed.


Scott is survived by his wife Elizabeth Knifton, his daughters Sarah, Julie, and Naomi Knifton and Rena Corey; and his son Stephen Knifton. Scott was fortunate enough to welcome grandson Travis, and granddaughters Lindsey, Chloe, Shamya, Breanah, and Lilianna. Scott was excited and waiting for the birth of grandson, Wesley.


Scott’s Celebration of Life service will be held April 15th at 3:00 p.m. at the Western Mennonite Church (9045 Wallace Rd NW, Salem, Oregon) with Pastor Rick Troyer presiding.


The family suggests that donations be made to Oregon Health & Science University’s cancer research.

Dallas Mortuary Tribute Center, United States
February 2018