Alyce Jane Knight

Alyce Jane Knight, Ph.D., 87, of Shelter Island, passed away peacefully on Monday, Feb. 10, 2020.

Alyce was born on January 7, 1933 and grew up in Manhattan Beach, N.Y. Despite coming of age during a time when it was far less common for women to pursue higher education, Alyce earned her Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Columbia University, her Master’s degree in Interior Architecture from Northwestern University, and her Doctor of Education from Teachers College at Columbia University. Applying her passion for architecture and enthusiasm for education, Alyce had an illustrious career at Art and Design High School in New York City, Triton College in Illinois and the New York Institute of Technology in Westbury.

Alyce married the love of her life, William “Bill” Francis Knight, Jr. in 1959. The couple settled in Riverdale, N.Y. in the early 1960s, and then in Evanston, Ill., where they happily raised their sons, Billy and Chris. The family spent every summer on Shelter Island, where they put down roots and forged a path for lifelong, intergenerational friendships. A talented architect, over the course of approximately 15 years, Alyce converted her family’s single-story, 400-square-foot Shorewood cottage into a large, modern two-story home.

A civic-minded and active member of the community, Alyce was instrumental in drafting Shelter Island’s Comprehensive Plan, a statement of visions and intentions for the town, in the early 1990s and served as chair of the committee. For several decades, Alyce served as the president of the Shorewood Civic Association, becoming a pillar of the neighborhood. To enhance the Island’s educational initiatives, Alyce was on the Board of the Shelter Island Educational Foundation.

Alyce was an avid tennis player and an ardent gardener. She was the quintessential hostess and a meticulous planner, her family recalled. Despite all of her accomplishments, Alyce was most proud of and devoted to her family, especially her five grandchildren. Alyce is survived by her husband, Bill; sons, Billy and Chris; daughters-in-law; Joni and Jackie; and grandchildren: Ashley, Lucas, William, Jordan and Michaela.

Alyce will be remembered, her family said, for her initiative, creativity, friendships and intelligence as well as her cheerful personality, infectious smile and delicious pot roast. She has left a lasting impression on the Shelter Island community and her family, whom she cared about so deeply. Alyce will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved her. 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Shelter Island Library, 37 North Ferry Road, Shelter Island, NY 11964.