James C. Knighton, 42, CPA, marathon runner


James C. Knighton, a certified public accountant and partner in an accounting firm who enjoyed marathon running, died of lung cancer Friday at St. Agnes HealthCare. The Catonsville resident was 42.

Born and raised in Catonsville, Mr. Knighton was a 1980 graduate of Mount St. Joseph High School, where he was inducted into the National Honor Society and was a member of the basketball, soccer and cross country teams. As a student, he worked in its summer camp and returned to the school as an adult to watch sports events.

After earning a bachelor's degree in accounting at Mount St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg, he joined the accounting firm of C.W. Amos in downtown Baltimore and became a CPA in 1985.

He remained with the firm, now known as McGladrey & Pullen, and was a partner at its Bethesda office. Business associates said his clients included private schools, developers and trade associations.

"He was a patient person and teacher in the office," said Michael Monaghan, a partner and friend. "He had high expectations for himself and for those who worked for him."

Mr. Monaghan said his friend established "fabulous client relationships" and that his business associates became "an extension of his family."

Mr. Knighton never stopped cross-country running.

"He told me a good day was when he had time to run," said his brother Philip M. Knighton. "Running through the woods at Patapsco State Park gave him peace. On Saturday mornings, he'd take his dog with him."

He ran four times a week with his wife of 20 years, the former Michele D. Sanchez. He completed the Baltimore and Northern Central marathons, and the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington three times.

He last ran the Annapolis Ten Miler in August, a week before his cancer was diagnosed.

"He was a hard-working family man who did not look for faults in people," his brother said. "He was easygoing and optimistic. He was very positive."

Mr. Knighton also helped coach his sons' sports teams in Catonsville recreation leagues.

"We called him Knights, and he liked nothing better than sitting on the curb and watching the July 4th Catonsville parade," said Mr. Monaghan.

An avid sports fan, he memorized sports statistics and attended University of Maryland basketball and football games as well as Orioles and Ravens games.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. tomorrow at St. Mark Roman Catholic Church on Melvin Avenue in Catonsville, where he was a parishioner.

In addition to his wife and brother, survivors include three sons, Kyle, 17, Joseph, 12, and Brooks, 8, and a daughter, Gabby, 19, all living at home; his mother, Mary G. Knighton of Catonsville; another brother, Mark J. Knighton of Baltimore; and a sister, Nancy K. Greer of Ellicott City.

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