Ron Knight was born in Stockton, California and attended Stockton High School. During the years he was a student in Animal Husbandry at UC Davis, he played varsity basketball, setting the Cal Aggie single game scoring record at that time against Chico State in 1952, and being selected for the All-Conference Team. His extracurricular activities included the Picnic Day Committee, Cal Club, Cal Aggie newspaper, and president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. As all male students were then required, he took ROTC, accepting a commission as second lieutenant at graduation in 1954, and serving in the US Army for 2 years, earning his first lieutenancy.
In 1957, Ron married Janice Brittsan and joined UC Cooperative Extension in Solano County to supervise the 4-H Youth Program. During his tenure in Solano County the program grew to 750 members with 250 adult leaders. He conducted the first 4-H livestock carcass program in the State. He moved to Tulare County in 1964 as 4-H Advisor and Program Coordinator. While he was there the 4-H program grew to 2500 members with 650 adult leaders. In 1972, Ron moved yet again, this time to Tehama County as County Director and Livestock Farm Advisor. His activities included growth implant trials with beef cattle, field research on the establishment of annual range clovers to improve the quantity and quality of range forage, controlled grazing trials on rangeland, and hardwood oak tree preservation. He was involved in the organization of the Beef Workgroup in 1984, serving as chair of the Northern Section in 1984-5. Ron co-authored the Beef Crisis Report in 1988. His work with the Tehama County Board of Supervisors from 1988-1990 resulted in the construction of a new County office for Cooperative Extension. Statewide activities included 4 years on the Assembly Council Personnel Committee, serving as chair in 1986-7, and working on the Animal, Avian, Aquaculture, and Veterinary Science Planning Group, serving as chair in 1990-1. Ron retired in 1991.
Many awards came his way: the Tehama Cattlemen's Association "1983 Man of the Year", the California Wool Growers Association "Golden Fleece Award" in 1992, The Cal Aggie Alumni Association "Citation for Excellence" in 1993, and the Red Bluff Bull Sale "Jack Alford Memorial Award" in 2000. In addition, the Tehama District Fairground 4-H Building was re-named the "Ron Knight Youth Ag Center" in 2000.
Ron was an active volunteer: he served as a director on the Cal Aggie Alumni Association Board, he was treasurer of the Tehama County Cattlemen's Association, treasurer of the Junior Livestock Auction Committee, member of the Board of Directors of the Tehama County Farm Bureau, member of the Red Bluff Bull and Gelding Sale Committee, and member of the California Ram Sale Sifting Committee. He was also a volunteer cook for 9 years at the annual 4-H summer camp after his retirement.
Ron enjoyed educating youth and adults on good management practices for livestock. He was a good role model for the institution that is University of California Cooperative Extension and is revered by his livestock and 4-H clientele, his UC co-workers, and his many friends from all walks of life.