He was a banker, a real- estate entrepreneur, a civic leader and a philanthropist. But just one word can accurately describe Boone Knox.
Knox, who lost his long battle with cancer Thursday at age 74, invested his wealth, time and talent in Augusta and its people.
And Augusta is richer for it.
Look at how he invested in our past.
Sacred Heart Catholic Church was destined for demolition after it was deconsecrated in the 1970s. But Knox and his family saved the beautiful structure from the wrecking ball by funding a five-year restoration project that culminated in the church's 1987 re-opening as Sacred Heart Cultural Center, now one of the city's jewels.
And look at how he invested in our future.
This summer the city will see the opening of the Salvation Army's massive Kroc Center -- a $100 million nexus for recreation, education, art, culture and social services. Knox chaired the formidable fund-raising effort that raised an incredible $20 million needed to bring the Kroc Center to Augusta -- six months ahead of schedule, and despite an economic downturn.
One of The Augusta Chronicle's columnists, retired Maj. Gen. Perry Smith, perhaps put it best in November 2009:
"The next time you see Boone Knox be sure to pat him on the back or give him a hug, and thank him for his extraordinary leadership in putting together a dream team and guiding them to such great success. Over the course of the next century, the Kroc Center will affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of individuals and families. It will be their joy; it will be Boone Knox's legacy."
Look at just about anything enhancing or uplifting about the CSRA, and Knox's influence and support can be found. The United Way, the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art, the CSRA Wounded Warrior Care Project, First Tee of Augusta, the Southeastern Natural Sciences Academy, Heritage Academy and the University Health Care Foundation is just a short start to a long list.
Knox has shown his commitment to education as a trustee of the University of Georgia Foundation, and as a donor, through the Knox Foundation, of $2 million in 2008 to boost the burgeoning James M. Hull School of Business at Augusta State University.
Knox was deeply devoted to his friends and his Christian faith, and lived to the letter the philosophy he shared with his hometown newspaper in Thomson, The McDuffie Mirror, last July: "Work hard and be honest. It usually works."
Knox was much more than a community leader. He was a beloved community resource who changed so many people's lives for the better. His invaluable work has laid a firm foundation on which Augusta can further grow and thrive. He will not be forgotten.