Ole E. Knutson, 83, of Rockland, Sparta, and Bangor, passed away Sunday, October 27, 2019, at the Tomah VA Medical Center.
He was born May 8, 1936, in Sparta, to Albert and Martha (Pokrand) Knutson. Ole had three brothers, Hulbert, Ted, and Alec and three sisters, Katherine, Sylvia, and Carolyn. He attended Sparta High School and worked on various farms, one being Clayton Hutson Farm in Big Creek; it was there, Ole met future wife, Janice Melaas. He served in the National Guard for three years and in 1955, he enlisted in the United States Army. Ole was stationed at Fort Leonard Wood in Maryland; then in Fort Richardson in Alaska, near Anchorage. Janice joined him in Alaska and they were married October 6, 1956, in the chapel on Elmendorf Airforce Base, next to the Fort Richardson Air Force Base. Their son, Glenn, was born at the hospital on the air force base on August 18, 1957. They lived in a house in Mountain View, near Anchorage. Ole was honorably discharged while stationed Fort Louis, Washington; on the second anniversary of their marriage, October 6, 1958. The family drove home to Sparta where Ole started a job on the Louis Schlaver Seed Farm; where they lived for three years. Jeanie was born January 7, 1960, while living on the farm. The family then moved to the Bangor Prairie on February 29, 1961, and rented a farm for six years. Scott was born October 3, 1963, and they moved near Sparta on February 29, 1968, where they raised their family. These were very happy times. Ole farmed alongside his son, Glenn for many years until Glenn took over the farming operation with his son, Ole’s grandson, Cody, in 2016. Ole and Janice then moved to a home in Rockland, Wis. In 1999, Ole and Janice began building log cabins; building one log cabin each year for four years. The Grapevine Log Cabin Bed and Breakfast, built on the farm, became a very successful business. They enjoyed entertaining guests from all over the world and the United States. In 1993, Ole began driving school bus for the Sparta School District for eight years; then for the Bangor School District from 2001 until 2012. He was president of the Norwalk Creamery for eight years; and was also an active member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Sparta, having served on the church council for six years as well an usher for many years.
Survivors include his wife, Janice; son, Glenn (Patty) Knutson, and their children, Jill (Dan), Ashley, and Cody (Selina); grandson, Michael (Melissa) Knutson; daughter-in-law, Lisa (Mike) Novak, and their children, Phillip, Ezra, Kekoa, and Keegan; son-in-law, Gerry Cote; great-grandchildren, Braden, Kaia, Jeara, Raylan, Addilyn, and Brailey; siblings, Carolyn (Stan) Miller, Sylvia “Sue” (Darrell) Heilman, and Ted (Rhoda) Knutson; brother-in-law, David Melaas; and many nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends.
Ole was preceded in death by his parents; his son, Scott Knutson; daughter, Jeanie Cote; sister, Katherine McBain; and brothers, Alec Knutson and Hulbert Knutson.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Thursday, October 31, 2019, at Trinity Lutheran Church, Sparta. Reverend Mark Kvale will officiate. Burial will follow in Burns Cemetery with military honors to be rendered by the Sparta VFW Post 2112 and the United States Army Funeral Honor Guard. A visitation will be held from 6:30 p.m., until 8:30 p.m., Wednesday, at Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home, Sparta, and from 10:00 a.m., until the time of service, Thursday, at the church.
Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home, Sparta, is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be offered to the family at www.schanhoferfh.com
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