CARTERSVILLE — It’s always too soon to quit. That is the philosophy of Elsa Knight, age 90, who has been working in the preschool department of Atco Baptist Church in Cartersville for 63 years.
Brenda Cochran, the Atco church secretary and church member since 1980, commented, “Elsa Knight is an awesome person. She has experienced much loss in her life, but she remains positive and has a loving and giving spirit. She is an example of faithfulness. She is here every Sunday to fulfill her responsibilities and she does it with joy and gladness.”
Joan Hamrick, wife of the late Wayne Hamrick, who served as pastor of the Atco church, commented, “Ms. Elsa Knight is one of the sweetest people I have ever known. She is always ‘upbeat’ and smiles constantly. She often talks about how good the Lord has been to her. When she talks about the ‘kids’ she has taught in Sunday School, she always has a sparkle in her eyes.”
Elsa was born in Cartersville Jan. 31, 1926, but her father got a job building dams for reservoirs to generate electricity. His employment took him to Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Kansas. Elsa traveled from state to state with her family for almost ten years until her father moved back to Cartersville, where he secured a job with a mining company.
In 1945 at 19 years old, Elsa made a profession of faith in Christ at Central Baptist Church. During that time she worked at Atco-Goodyear Mill where she met Grover Knight. After a courtship of six months Elsa and Grover were married at Atco Baptist Church.
Elsa worked at the Atco-Goodyear Mill for 30 years – 22 on the assembly line making cords for tires and eight as as a medic in first aid, giving assistance to anyone suffering a sudden illness or injury.
The Knights had two children, a daughter, Linda, and a son, Jerry. The family was faithful to Atco Baptist Church. However, over the years Elsa has experienced the loss of her husband, who died in 2009, her son, who died in 2006, and daughter, who died in 2015. Nevertheless, she considers herself blessed, because she has three grandsons and one great granddaughter.
Grover Knight was employed by the Coco Cola Company, but prior to that was a WWII hero. Elsa explained, “He was in England fighting the Nazis, shooting down German planes.”
Staying young, leaving a message
However, the one constant in Elsa’s life is her ministry to the children of Atco Baptist Church. She reported, “I taught those 3- and 4-year-old children for most of the 63 years, but now I am just a helper and do the secretarial work. We have about 15 each Sunday and I love being with the children. They keep me young.
“One of the Bible stories I loved to teach the children is the story of Noah and the flood and how God spared Noah and his family and all those animals. But there is no story like the story of Jesus and his love. That is the message I most want to leave with our children.
Elsa spoke with extreme excitement about her church. She stated, “I love my church and my pastor. My church family and friends have helped me through bad times. My desire now is just to be a blessing to someone like my church has been a blessing to me.
“I am handicapped now. I have to use a walker. I have had to use it for about six years, but I don’t let it slow me down. In fact, I just bought me a new truck. It’s a Chevrolet Colorado. I can drive up and down Highway 41 and I go to the grocery store, to the church, and to the doctor, but I don’t get out on Interstate 75.
“I also have a dog. She is part Jack Russell and part Chihuahua. Her name is Lucy. I have had her for two years and she has been a blessing.”
The bright and positive native of Bartow County exclaimed, “I can’t believe I have been on this earth for 90 years. I think my family must be lined up in heaven waiting for me. I can just imagine my mother and father, my brother, my husband, and son and daughter all standing by the Pearly Gates when I finally get there and saying, ‘What took you so long?’
“I guess I think about heaven more and more. One of my favorite scripture passages is John 14 where Jesus is telling us about the mansion He is preparing for us; and one of my favorite hymns is ‘When We All Get to Heaven.’
“But until I get there I just want to be a blessing to someone.”