Rupert Location:
Morrison Funeral Home & Crematory
Phone: (208) 436-1800

James Anthony Knighton

Born: Tuesday Nov-28-1967
Died: Wednesday Feb-28-2024
Funeral: Saturday Mar-23-2024

Morrison Funeral Home
& Crematory

188 S. Hwy 24
Rupert, Idaho 83350
Contact and Directions

James Anthony Knighton is whole again, passing peacefully in his sleep on February 28th, 2024. A Memorial Service will be at The Springs Calvary Chapel located at 1430 17th Street, Heyburn, Idaho at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday March 23, 2024.

Tony was born on November 28, 1967 in Ogden, Utah to Evelyn and Jerrold Knighton (both deceased). He was a welcome addition to the family to his older brother, Zeph Knighton (deceased 2002) and older sister, Annette Arnold (Washington). Later becoming the big brother to Vicky Castaneda (Washington) and Melissa Dalton (Utah). Tony was always a fun, adventurous brother. Whether that meant he was laughing with you or at you is up for debate. Teasing (or torturing, depending on your perspective) his little sisters, he thought putting one year old Melissa in a box and sending her down the stairs would be a great idea. Or going on a fun little adventure, taking the dog and three-year-old Vicky for a walk, until they were discovered half a mile away. The best idea though, had to be the carnival-like rides in the dryer.

In 1986, Tony graduated from Panguitch High School as Valedictorian, but more notably was voted as the class’s biggest flirt. There he played basketball, baseball and was a track superstar. He went to Dixie College for a Quarter and then enlisted in the Utah National Guard. Tony took immense pride in working for the Guard, climbing the ranks to become one of the youngest Master Sergeants with the 2-222nd Field Artillery Battalion, “Triple Deuce.” He starched his uniforms so heavy they would stand on their own and polishing his boots was a weekly ritual that became a smell his kids will always fondly remember. In 2006 Tony retired from the Utah National Guard with honorable discharge. 18 years later, there are still countless stories going around the armory about how amazing he is. All of these stories being told to his son Kolton, who honorably followed in his father’s footsteps, joining in 2013. Tony never forgot his unit either. Going as far as putting 222nd on his license plate and always wearing his American Pride attire, telling any and everyone stories about his beloved “brothers.”

On July 31st, 1987, Tony married his high school sweetheart Kena McInelly, later divorcing in 2006. Tony and Kena moved to Salt Lake City where they welcomed two beautiful children. His princess Lacey, referred to as "Punkin" (Colorado) and his pride Kolton referred to as "Bubba” (Utah). He loved his two children more than anything, always sharing stories of their accomplishments with anyone who would listen. Keeping them close, he proudly displayed their names tattooed over his heart, showing anyone who would look ;). Tony’s kids now keep him close, carrying on his kind heart with a bit (or a bunch) of sarcasm and teasing thrown in. His famous personality is one of the best gifts he has ever given them.

In 1997 the family moved to Cedar City, Utah. Tony’s talents extended beyond his military service, building their dream home all while still working full time. There wasn't anything Tony couldn't do. From fixing cars to plowing snowy driveways, lending a hand to anyone who needed one. His acts of kindness matched only by his ability to uplift others with his infectious personality, making an awful day, a great one. On the way to work one morning, Tony saw a woman on the side of the road with a flat tire. He stopped to help her, not only changing her tire, but changing her entire day. A few years later this woman would be one of Kolton’s teachers, who when discovering who his dad was, told Kolton this story. But again, this is just one of many that are still told years and years later, about his spirit of kindness, humor, and generosity.

Tony enjoyed going to Lake Powell and hunting with his father-in-law Kent. He became the son his in-laws never had. Maybe even being the favorite at times, seeing as Kent took great enjoyment sharing all his best hunting spots with Tony, but never with his own daughters!

Christmas was Tony’s favorite. He always snooped, making it impossible to surprise him, as he found every…single…hiding place. But making Christmas special for his kids was what he loved most. When they got older and started questioning if Santa was real, he made sure the magical moments would carry on a little longer. Going as far as catching a video of the real Santa Claus ;) ! Whether he was concocting imaginative escapades or sharing his contagious humor and charismatic personality, Tony left a lasting mark on those fortunate enough to be around him. His zest for life was bright, always filling it with love, laughter and mischief.

July 30th, 2004, on a four-wheeling trip, Tony sustained a traumatic brain injury. It was an incredibly difficult time. But in true Tony Knighton fashion, he pushed through, learning how to walk, talk and become independent again. A few years after his accident, Tony retired and moved to Rupert, Idaho to be with his parents again, John & Evelyn Pfnister. Although no longer a mechanic for the National Guard, he kept himself busy, making friends at the local auto body shop, helping them anyway he could. It was also during this time his faith grew, growing closer to God. Going to church and Home Fellowship became a huge and treasured part of his life. These incredible people became his second family, being there for him in so many invaluable ways. They took the time and patience to understand and appreciate Tony on a deeper level. Listening to the stories shared by his mother, about his miraculous second chance at life, credited to her persistent prayers. Tony embraced this legacy, fervently praying for his children, Lacey and Kolton, never missing a chance to uplift them in prayer gatherings.

Tony's devotion to his family and faith was evident. He was a constant presence at The Springs Calvary Chapel, known for his warm greetings, smiles and hugs. Hallmarks of his character shown in contributing to Home Fellowship meals or assisting church members in need. Even after having a large part of his brain removed due to his injury, his willingness to help others and generosity stayed intact.

Tony's passion for NASCAR was unwavering, making it a priority to attend the races in Las Vegas every year, even if it meant going alone. During one of these trips he lost his car keys, having to get an Uber back to his hotel. Believing in the power of prayer, he called both his daughter Lacey and his church family to pray with him. The next morning that same Uber driver, kind and generous, came back to the hotel on his own time. The driver took him back to the parking lot, helping him find his keys. Tony made it home safely with a great story to tell, about how someone turned his bad day into a great one.

Even in moments of confusion, Tony never forgot his Home Fellowship gatherings. His enthusiasm for these meetings was palpable, often arriving early in anticipation. His love for cayenne pepper, habit of brewing coffee for everyone (albeit messy), approach to dating and humorous reminders of punctuality are happy and cherished memories. Tony's absence has left a void in so many hearts and the church, especially in his usual spot where he would tease his “Little Sis,” Neri Strunk for being late. But his spirit of love, faith and community remains.

Tony taught so many the importance of cherishing our loved ones and being present for those who care for us. His ability to recognize and reciprocate love was a gift. Though he may no longer physically grace us with his presence, his spirit lives on in the lessons he imparted and the memories we all hold so dear.

Tony, our beloved father, brother, and friend, your impact on our lives is immeasurable. We look forward to the day we get to see you again.


P.S. Dad, I Love You Mostester.

Always, Your Punkin


So sorry and shocked to hear of Tony’s passing. Do know the family will be in our thoughts and prayers as you walk through this difficult time..Paul and Georganne Pfnister

Loved Tony’s zest for life and his Love for Jesus.. Naomi Pnister

Tony and family in your sudden passing I just wanted to let you know I always enjoyed our visit at workmans shop when we would end up meeting there . To his family my deepest condolences for your loss at this time...Joel Heward

Share A Condolence

* The funeral home reserves the right to reject or edit any condolence

    Leave A Memory For:

    Your Name (required)

    Your Email (required)

    Phone Number