HOBBS, NM - Lea County residents are mourning the loss of one of their own. On Wednesday afternoon, hundreds of people celebrated the life of retired Hobbs Police Chief Tony Knott. After a lengthy battle with cancer, Knott passed away in his home last Friday with his family by his side.
Hundreds gathered, graveside, to remember the life of Knott. He was laid to rest in Hobbs, where he grew up, and where he raised his own children. Before they bid their final farewell, they celebrated his life and his memory inside the First United Methodist Church, which was busting at the seams.
"It really didn't matter how long he had known you or you had known him, he always made you feel important," Friend, Donnie Smith, said.
Smith, gave Knott's eulogy. He spoke of the Tony Knott the public knew, as the tough guy, Chief of Police, who was a go-getter and ball of energy. He also talked of Knott's love of his children and his wife, who had been by his side since the moment he learned he was ill.
"There came a turning point, when you began protecting your protector, and I think I speak for all of Tony's friends when I say I have the deepest respect and admiration for you and your part in Tony's life," Smith said to Knott's wife, Laurie.
Pastor Kenny Reed officiated the ceremony, he was Knott's pastor and friend.
"This afternoon I want you to realize, this was not a man who was afraid of cancer or dying. This was a man totally loving his relationship with Jesus," Reed said.
Knott leaves behind a rich legacy, seen clearly by the outpouring of people who turned out for his Church memorial and graveside service. For those know knew him, they say they can't bare to say goodbye, only, "see you soon."
"There's a real Heaven, and I need you to realize, that this past Friday, a real man went there," Reed said.