Deborah Carr Knight passed away peacefully on Tuesday, December 27, 2022, at Harbor Hospice in Lake Charles, Louisiana. She bravely battled ovarian cancer for most of the past year.
Deborah was born March 21, 1954, in Laurel, Mississippi, to Rev. Lester and Grace Gardner of Shady Grove, Mississippi. As a preacher’s kid, she spent her formative years all over South Mississippi and Jackson, but Laurel and Shady Grove were her true home, graduating from West Jones High School in 1972. She attended Clarke College in Newton, Mississippi, where she met and married David Carr. Despite being a huge Ole Miss fan, she graduated with honors in Business Education from Mississippi State University, and moved to Missouri, living in Hannibal and Rolla. She moved back to Laurel, Mississippi, and enthusiastically threw herself into helping the community. Deborah was a Life member of the Laurel Junior Auxiliary having served as the LJA President. She also volunteered at St. John’s Day School and Immaculate Conception Schools when her children were younger. She attended First Baptist Church, Laurel, and was part of the WMU.
After moving to Newton, Mississippi, she was President of the Newton Culture Club, Newton County Academy Booster Club President and served several years as the Newton County Academy PTO President. She taught elementary music and art, and was the School Librarian at Newton Academy, later teaching high school English and Speech. She also took graduate coursework at both Ole Miss and University of Southern Mississippi getting her Library Science Certification. Deborah and former spouse, David, had three children together who they adored. Her love of Ole Miss was evident in all areas of her life, and she spent many Saturdays hosting friends and family in the Grove on Game Days.
After marrying Barry Knight and moving to Borger, Texas, Deborah continued teaching middle school, and finally retired to Lake Charles, Louisiana, where she had a full social calendar. Deborah and Barry were members of the Krewe de la Maison De Calcasieu of Southwest Louisiana, with Deborah serving as an officer, and spending many hours planning events including the Mardi Gras Ball each year where she decorated a themed table for her family and friends for the celebration. She was also involved in the Women’s Ministry at First Baptist Church of Lake Charles, Louisiana, and the Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O.). Her generous heart also led her to become a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer for children in the Louisiana foster care system.
Deborah loved her church and Ole Miss, but most of all, her grandchildren who quickly eclipsed her children in her estimation. She loved being their “Mimi”.
Deborah was preceded in death by her older brother, Lester Neil Gardner, Jr.; and her parents, Rev. Lester and Grace Gardner.
She is survived by her husband, Barry Knight of Lake Charles, Louisiana; her daughters, Jessica Carr Culpepper (Andy) of Raymond, MS and Betsy Carr Smith (Peter) of Franklin, Tennessee; and her son, Nicholas Neil Carr (Maggie) of Oxford, Mississippi; her sisters Julia Gardner White of Laurel, Mississippi and Jane Gatlin Davis (Bob) of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She is also survived by her beloved grandchildren, twins Olivia Jane Smith and Hunt Curlin Smith, Sadie Ann Smith, and Walton David Carr.
Visitation will be held on Friday, December 30, 2022 at Eastridge Baptist Church beginning at 9:00 AM in Lake Charles, Louisiana, followed by a service at 10:00 AM. On Saturday, December 31, services will be held at Memory Chapel in Laurel, Mississippi, at 9:30 AM followed by a graveside service at 11:00 AM in Welborn Cemetery. Family and friends are invited to the funeral reception at One Hinchingham Drive, Laurel, Mississippi afterwards.
Memorials may be given to Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance at www.ocrahope.org