Thank You, Dolorous Knight, for Supporting SF’s Libraries

By Rebecca Alcalá, Elizabeth Thacker-Estrada, and Terry Gwiazdowski

Dolorous Knight, an avid reader, lifelong learner, and Excelsior Branch benefactor, passed away on June 5, 2012 at the age of 98.  A resident of the Excelsior District for seven decades, Mrs. Knight continuously borrowed books from the branch, and a log she kept beginning in 1976 showed that she had read over 2,100 books!

Over the years she became friendly with many of the employees of the Excelsior Branch and we all had a hand in suggesting titles for her to read and reading books she recommended. Several branch managers took special care of Mrs. Knight by pulling the requested books together so that her helpers could come in and easily check the items out for her.

Her generosity of spirit led her to endow her beloved Excelsior Branch with an incredible gift that provided the tables, chairs, computers, and lighting fixtures for the renovated branch when it reopened in 2005.

The Dolorous Knight Fund has also enabled the Excelsior Branch to feature innovative programming that enriches the community.  Mrs. Knight’s gift to the branch pays the movie licensing fees for the Monday Night Movies and the honoraria of numerous Excelsior Arts & Culture Salon presenters. 

One outstanding woman in the Excelsior District, Mrs. Knight, made possible the annual appearance of another, the internationally-renowned beat poet Diane di Prima, whose salons were the best-attended adult programs at the branch.  In 2009, the Fund afforded second graders from a local school the opportunity to study with the then San Francisco Poet Laureate at a Poetry Workshop sponsored by the Excelsior Branch.  In addition, the Excelsior Branch in 2011 was able to host not just one but two live performances commemorating the 100th anniversary of California women winning the right to vote.  The Fund also supplemented the costs of creative teen programs and the annual Open Houses and paid for the branch to purchase its own podium and microphone.

We are delighted that the city in general and the Excelsior Branch in particular honored Mrs. Knight on October 3, 2009 with her own day – “Dolorous Knight Day,” in conjunction with the popular Senior Fair.

It is with great sadness that we bid farewell to Mrs. Knight, to whom we give many thanks for her graciousness, generosity, and passion for the Excelsior district.  Because of her, our residents of all ages continue to learn about new topics, build new skills, connect with someone else’s vivid imagination, and enjoy an afternoon or evening movie – all at their local library.

Thank you, Mrs. Knight, for creating a haven for lifelong learners at the Excelsior Branch Library.

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