2010 honours award

Leith and Cy Knight Honours Award

Leith and Cy Knight
Presented April 22, 2010

Moose Jaw is truly blessed to have had as life-long residents the husband and wife team of Cy and Leith Knight. Their talent and dedication to serve this community has been truly phenomenal.

Cy Knight, born in 1916, was a graduate of Empire and Moose Jaw Technical High School. His first job was as a welder's helper at the oil refinery, even though his ambition as a child was to become a railroad engineer. He became adept as a welder, but all plans and ambitions were set aside when he contracted tuberculosis. He entered the Saskatchewan Sanatorium at Fort Qu'Appelle and was a patient there for over three years. It was there that Cy became interested in radio. After he was discharged from the hospital, he applied for a job with CHAB, and was hired. This began a career that spanned over three decades, and during that time, he became Moose Jaw's most famous voice. For 15 years Cy Knight was beamed into Moose Jaw and area homes from 1:30 – 5 p.m. every week-day afternoon on the show he was best known for – "The Mailbag". Cy ad-libbed his way through amateur talent, impromptu messages, and country-style music. The show was geared to community needs and interests. Before rural people had telephones, this program was their only means of communication. The show was a combination of entertainment and public service, and uncounted thousands tuned in, and loved every minute of it. Every year Cy conducted a drive to raise funds for a Christmas party for the children at Indian Head Orange Benevolent Homes. His loyal friends from "The Mailbag" responded, and he always reached his quota.

Cy also became M.C. for the popular "Sunday at Home" show. During his career as an announcer he conducted broadcasts from garages, hardware stores, grocery stores, and anywhere people met. He interviewed ambassadors, recording stars, and famous entertainers.

After Cy retired from radio, he spent more time at a farm he owned in the Rowletta district, as well as making music. He played piano, banjo, saxophone, bass fiddle, and bass guitar and was a valued member of many musical groups throughout his life.

Cy has received countless public service awards from organizations such as Rotary International, Cosmopolitan International, and the Royal Canadian Legion. He received certificates of appreciation from the City of Moose Jaw, Pasqua Community Club and Pioneer Housing Association.

Cy Knight received the only Medal of Merit from the City of Moose Jaw ever awarded. The award was for outstanding achievement in Public Relations and Radio Music Dedication and he received it in August of 1983. The Pla-Mor Booster Club held a Cy Knight "Testimonial Stag" after he was honoured by the National Association of Broadcasters for 25 years of broadcasting achievement.

In addition, Cy served as M.C. for an unbelievable variety of City events, ranging from United Appeal, Scottish nights, Chautauqua, and Labour Council Dinners, to pub nights. He was in great demand for out-of-town shows well.

Leith Doucherty was born to Irish parents in Moose Jaw. She was raised and presently lives in the same house that has been in her family for three generations. Leith was educated at William Grayson Elementary, Central Collegiate High School and also attended Business College. Her first job was as a continuity writer for CHAB. She held this position for over five years, and it was at the radio station that she first met Cy. Leith and Cy were married in 1954.

Leith was hired as secretary to the chief librarian at the Moose Jaw Public Library in 1961 and when someone was needed in reference, Leith got the job. While she worked in this capacity, Leith set up the archive department. Moose Jaw was the first library in the province to have an archive department. The filing system Leith developed is still in use today. In 1967 she started writing articles in the "Times" to help publicize the introduction of archives as part of the library. At first, the historical articles appeared occasionally, but they became so popular that they have become a weekly Moose Jaw Times-Herald feature for the past 20 years. It is estimated that Leith has compiled somewhere in the neighbourhood of two thousand articles dealing with the historical aspects of Moose Jaw and district. As a historian, the knowledge of Moose Jaw area she has at her finger tips is absolutely astounding.

Leith retired from the library in 1983, but has remained very involved in this community. Leith published a book for Moose Jaw's 100th anniversary. This book, "All the Moose, All the Jaw" is a cross-section of her historical articles. She received a City of Moose Jaw Municipal Heritage Award for the book and for education through her series "Historically Speaking". This award was presented by Mayor L.H."Scoop" Lewry. In the early 1990s Leith was presented with another Municipal Heritage Award by Mayor Stan Montgomery for Heritage Education in Moose Jaw.

In addition, Leith is active in Nature Moose Jaw, Nature Saskatchewan, Heritage Moose Jaw and Heritage Saskatchewan. She published her first book "Birds of the Moose Jaw Area" in 1967 and her second "All the Moose All the Jaw" in 1982.

Leith and Cy teamed up to present slide shows at the Library, Moose Jaw Canadian Club and Art Museum. These slides featured experiences from their extensive travels and Cy's interest in locomotives. The two of them were presented with a Community Service Award by the 7th Day Adventist Church, for their many years of service to our community.

Music played a major role in the lives of these two extraordinary citizens. Leith was the choir leader and played the organ at Minto Church for 20 years, and Cy sang baritone in the choir. Later Leith played the organ at St. John's Church for almost another 20 years, and Cy sang in the choir part time. She has also served as relief organist at Zion and St. Andrews Churches. Currently she plays for services at St. Michaels. In addition she played the bells at St Aidan, and did so when Queen Elizabeth visited the church in 1978, and also more recently when Prince Edward the Earl of Wessex visited.

Leith and Cy were listed as members of the Moose Jaw Canadian Club on the 1977 and subsequent membership lists. Cy was a director from 1984 to 1986 and Leith has been continuously listed as pianist or co-pianist since 1984. She continues as pianist in 2010, over 25 years of service.

This multi-talented couple travelled a great deal after retirement. They enjoyed the eastern cost of the U.S.A. and spent a lot of time in the New England States and Virginia. They went to Britain on ten different trips, spending much of their time in Scotland.

Leith, since her retirement more than two decades ago, has been in great demand as a guest speaker for a variety of organizations. As an historian extraordinaire, she speaks with authority on historical events that have taken place in our area. These are punctuated by the many slides she has taken over the years.

Cy passed away in 2004, but Leith is present to accept this award on behalf of both of them. We feel so proud and privileged to honour Leith and Cy and we salute their many contributions to Moose Jaw and District.