Dean S. Knight
Biography: Dean Stanley Knight was born on April 1, 1917, in Knapp, Wisconsin. He was the son of Frank V. Knight and Ida M. Petrie and attended school in New Richmond, WI, graduating in 1934. After graduation, he worked as a shipping clerk and later as a shipping foreman for the Strand Company, which manufactured skis, toboggans and canoe paddles. During Dean’s time with the company in 1941 and 1942, Strand had a large snow shoe and ski contract with the U.S. Government.
Service Time: Dean joined the service on June 6, 1942, in Milwaukee, WI, going into active service on the 12th. After completing TD basic at Camp Hood, Texas, he was chosen for OCS (Officer Candidate School) and was assigned to Fourth Company, Sixteenth Class, Officer Candidate School Regiment. On February 3, 1943, he was honorably discharged as a Corporal and then commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant. On February 4, 1943, he graduated from OCS and was ultimately assigned to B Company of the 771st Tank Destroyer Battalion.
He served as a TD Commander, over a squad, and later as Liaison Officer. At times, he was called upon to cover for his Commanding Officer. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his actions from Feb. 7, to Apr. 30, 1945, during actions from the Roer to the Elbe rivers. He received credit for the unit’s campaigns in Rhineland and Central Europe and also received the EAME Medal, American Theater Medal, WWII Victory Medal and Good Conduct Medal. He shipped back to the U.S. on December 24, 1945, aboard the SS William L. Smith and arrived at Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia, on January 10th. He was temporarily assigned to Battery B, 974th Field Artillery Battalion before being discharged at Fort Sheridan, Illinois, on April 6, 1946, at the rank of 1st Lieutenant.
When Dean returned home, he found work in farm sales for Nutrena Foods and Northrup King. On April 22, 1946, he married the former Sydney E. Stockstead who was the daughter of Sidney E. Stockstead and Cornelia E. Black. Sydney was born in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota. This new couple made their residence in St. Paul and Detroit Lakes, MN, and they had five daughters, Patricia, Mary, Barbara, Catherine and Ann.
He was a member of the VFW, Knights of Columbus and Eagles. Dean passed away on April 4, 1994, and was buried at the Fort Snelling National Cemetery in St. Paul, MN.
I want to thank Dean’s daughter, Mary, and grandson, Mike, for providing the photos and information used in this tribute.