Mark J. McKnight, 70, formerly of Watertown

WATERTOWN, NY —  Mark J. McKnight passed away at Harlem Hospital on March 12, 2020, after sustaining a serious injury at home the previous day.

Born Aug. 17, 1949, in Watertown, NY, to Joan E. (Earl) and Robert F. McKnight, he graduated in 1968 from Watertown High School, where he was a long-distance runner, competitive swimmer, and music columnist for the school’s Owl Magazine.

He graduated with an associate’s degree in Liberal Arts from Jefferson Community College in 1970, and, while there, was an editor of The Word, the school’s newspaper. From there, Mark obtained his baccalaureate in 1972, from SUNY Geneseo, where majored in English and minored in Spanish. One of Mark’s favorite college experiences was spending a spring semester in Madrid to further his Spanish studies. He spent the subsequent summer backpacking through Europe before returning home.

Upon graduating from Geneseo, Mark left for San Francisco, where he was a proofreader for a major publishing house. After several years on the West Coast, Mark returned East to a position as a concierge of the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan.  Upon advancing at the Plaza and honing his hospitality skills, Mark left the Plaza to become a manager at the Carlyle Hotel, also in New York City, for many years.

As a life-long learner, Mark earned many technical certifications, allowing him to transfer from the hospitality field to the technology industry, he worked at Columbia University and he held several positions with Manhattan companies in their respective technology departments before starting his own consulting business, which kept him busy through his retirement years.

Mark was dearly loved in his Manhattan neighborhood called Inwood. He was often referred to as “Mayor” of the building where he lived. Children and Animals alike ran up to him every time he walked outside. His anecdotes of the many famous people he encountered at the Carlyle Hotel and Studio 54, kept adults enthralled with him also. Even Lauren Bacall and Mark had a special bond because of their mutual love of animals.

Mark is survived by an aunt, Josephine R. Johnson of Sackets Harbor, NY; an uncle, David Fisk, of Dexter, NY; a brother, Brad J. McKnight, of Portland, Maine; a sister, Mindi M. McMains, of Watertown, NY; and a nephew, Cameron R. Pierce, also of Watertown, NY.

He was predeceased by his parents, Joan and Robert McKnight, as well as an aunt, Marie Fisk, of Dexter, NY.

There will be a celebration of Mark’s life in New York City at a future date.

No local services are planned.

To honor Mark’s love of animals, please make a donation in his name to your local SPCA.

Arrangements are with Reed & Benoit Funeral Home, Inc.