Roger Hubert Knutson, 76, died on Monday, July 8, 2013, at his home, surrounded by his family, following a lengthy illness with renal cancer.
Roger was born on May 18, 1937 to Hubert and Esther (Landsrud) Knutson in Calmar, IA. He grew up on the family farm, went to Calmar schools, graduating from Calmar H.S. in 1955. He attended Gale Institute in Minneapolis where he studied aviation dispatching. He was employed at American Airlines at Midway Airport in Chicago, and met his future wife who was employed at United Airlines.
Roger was married on August 30, 1957 in Calmar to Peggy Jeanette Rose. Following their marriage the couple lived in Chicago, Iowa and Rochester before moving to Stewartville in 1965, where they raised their family. Roger was employed in finance at Thorpe Finance and ITT, both in Rochester. He and Peggy moved to Cannon Falls in 1989 where Roger was employed at First National Bank, retiring as vice president in 2002. Peggy was a homemaker and was employed for 14 years at Midwest of Cannon Falls Inc. They moved back to Stewartville in 2012.
Roger was a member for 20+ years at Zion Lutheran Church in Stewartville and was a member of St. Ansgar's Lutheran Church in Cannon Falls. While living in Decorah, Roger worked for the newspaper and was asked to cover high school wrestling. This sparked a lifelong passion for amateur wrestling. He helped start and coached with youth wrestling programs and booster clubs in Stewartville and Cannon Falls. He began officiating Freestyle Wrestling in 1978, officiating for 10 years at the Jr. Nationals and for the Greco-Roman Regional Qualifier for the 1984 Olympic Games. He attended many NCCA National Championships with his family in tow and the MN. State Wrestling Tournament was an annual trip. Roger was a member of the MN State and National Wrestling Officials Assns. He was inducted into the Region I Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2008 and into the MN State Wrestling Coaches Assn. - Hall of Fame in April of this year.
He had a good singing voice and sang in barbershop groups in Iowa and Rochester and enjoyed gospel music. He also enjoyed horses and horseracing, golfing, following the Twins, trips to Virginia with Peggy and time spent with family, especially his grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Roger is survived by his wife, Peggy; one daughter and two sons, Roger (Kristi) of Dorchester, IA; Craig (Mary) Knutson of Stewartville and Denise LeBarron (Mike Udenberg) of Stewartville; seven grandchildren, Carly Knutson, Mike (Emily) Knutson, Kate (Cory) Schmitz, Matt (Kirstin) Knutson, Samantha LeBarron, Hannah LeBarron and Jacob LeBarron; three step-grandchildren, Hammie Girard, Jacob Girard and Cody Girard; six great grandchildren, Hailee, Jackson, Aubree, Eloise, Brayden and Makayla; and one brother, Earl (Judy) Knutson of Calmar.
He was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Elsie Ingvolstad; and his brother, Howard Knutson.
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. on Thursday, July 11, 2013, at Zion Lutheran Church in Stewartville, with Rev. Byron Meline and Rev. Gary Schulz officiating. Burial will follow at Woodlawn Cemetery in Stewartville.
Arrangements are with Griffin-Gray Funeral Home in Stewartville. www.griffin-gray.com.