Obituary: Kathryn McKnight (Croken)


Kathryn Mary McKnight (Croken) died of breast cancer on Dec. 28 at the Genesis Clarissa C. Cook Hospice House in Bettendorf with her family at her bedside. 

Retiring in 2016, Kathryn McKnight was a member of the St Ambrose University School of Nursing faculty for nearly 15 years. She was a highly regarded nurse educator, holding a doctoral degree from the University of Wisconsin; a wealth of professional experience; and a deep commitment of support for all her students, especially the non-traditional and racially diverse degree candidates.  Kathryn will be remembered fondly by her St. Ambrose faculty colleagues for her professionalism and leadership and by hundreds of former students for her commitment to their success. 

Kathryn McKnight’s 50-year-long nursing career began in 1970 with her BSN degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Nursing.  She went on to earn a master’s degree in nursing from Rutgers University School of Biomedical and Health Sciences, as well as a second master’s degree from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. 

Always a nursing practice innovator, Kathryn McKnight was a member of one of the earliest cohorts of nurse practitioners in the nation. She also was a certified lactation consultant.  The depth and breadth of her professional experience included virtually every practice setting from the hospital bedside to public health to pediatric oncology.  And so, she leaves behind a legacy of compassion among the thousands of patients who have benefited from her care 

Kathryn McKnight was born on Feb. 16, 1948, in Exeter, N.H., and raised in the suburbs of Boston, Mass. She is survived by her husband of 41 years, Kenneth R. Croken of Davenport, and their children Matthew McKnight Croken and Anne McKnight Croken, as well as Matthew’s wife, Melissa Ann Semanik, and their son, Elliott Michael Croken,  all of whom reside in New York City.  

Kathryn’s passing also will be mourned by her surviving siblings: Elaine McKnight of New York; Eileen Medinger of Davenport; Robert McKnight of Massachusetts; and James McKnight of Maine; as well as many friends and extended family members.  She is preceded in death by her parents, Thomas William and Barbara Catherine (McDevitt) McKnight and a brother, Michael McKnight.

There will be no public visitation or funeral service at this time due to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases across the Quad-Cities region.  In lieu of flowers or food, the McKnight-Croken Family requests that those who wish to express sympathy consider making a donation to the “McKnight-Croken Family Fund” within the Genesis Foundation,1227 East Rusholme Street, Davenport, Iowa 52803. 

Donations of any amount will be greatly appreciated and used to help accomplish two goals.  First, it is Kathryn’s wish to provide free mammography screenings to all those in need and help ensure the early detection and treatment of breast cancer and, second, support the mission of the Genesis Clarissa C. Cook Hospice House enabling patients and families to face their own end-of-life challenges with dignity. 


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