The Rev. Glennys C. Knutson, 95
Published 7:33 am Friday, September 29, 2017
The Rev. Glennys C. Knutson, 95, formerly of Austin, Minnesota, died Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, in New Brighton, Minnesota.
Glennys C. Knutson was born March 6, 1922, to Ben C. and Lettie (Thompson) Knutson on the family farm two miles north of Radcliffe, Iowa. He was baptized and completed the rite of confirmation at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Radcliffe. In 1939 he graduated from the Radcliffe Public Schools. He was the oldest of three children, having one brother and one sister. His mother passed away when he was 10. His father later was united in marriage to Gertie Bjerkestrand. She became an excellent mother to the children.
School days were a busy time. In addition to school activities there were chores on the farm. In September 1939 Glennys began attending Iowa State College majoring in agricultural education. An earlier experience caused him to rethink his goal. While looking at a beautiful field of grain ready for harvest, he recalled the words, “The fields are white unto harvest, pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into the harvest.” He eventually decided this was a nudge into the ministry.
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He transferred to St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, and began preparing for the seminary. He loved St. Olaf College, worked at several jobs, played bassoon in the St. Olaf Orchestra, and was on the track team. But for him the most important reward was meeting Margaret Olson with whom he fell in love and later married.
During his senior year, he was accepted as a student at Luther Seminary. He was about to be drafted, even though seminary students were exempt, so he chose to enlist in the U.S. Army, which gave him a chance to finish his senior year at St. Olaf. He graduated in 1943 and two weeks later was in the U. S. Army. After basic training with the medics, the Army sent him to the University of Wisconsin for training in military government. In March 1944, he was sent overseas to the European Theater and assigned to General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Mission to Norway. The unit included American, British and Norwegian soldiers and was under British command, with headquarters in London. This was during the flying bomb and rocket attacks. After suffering three direct hits, the unit moved to Edinburgh, Scotland, and Glennys became the liaison between London and Scotland. He went through more than 150 bombing attacks without injury. At the war’s end, he was one of the first 10 U. S. soldiers to leave for Norway.
Norway was an interesting experience, particularly to be around people who had been freed from an army of occupation. They were so thankful to be free, and relief supplies brought in were appreciated. He remembered how thankful they were to have real coffee again. After the 99th Infantry Battalion left Norway, he was assigned to the military attache’s office in the American Embassy where he continued until returning to the states for his discharge from the Army on April 26, 1946.
On Aug. 4, 1946, he and Margaret Olson were united in marriage at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Jackson. (In August 2017 they celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary.) In September 1946, he began his studies at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, graduating in 1949. The class was mostly returned veterans. His Internship was brief because of being a veteran, and was served in Vienna, South Dakota. During the seminary days, their first daughter, Mary Margaret, was born.
On June 12, 1949, he was ordained by Bishop N. Astrup Larson at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Radcliffe, having accepted a call to First Lutheran Church in Sioux Rapids, Iowa, and Trinity Lutheran Church, Linn Grove, Iowa. Sioux Rapids and Linn Grove were great places and he learned from a practical exposure the many facets of ministry. While in the Sioux Rapids/Linn Grove parish, daughters Carol Ann and Sandra Jean were born. As much as they enjoyed the two churches, the day came when they were challenged to move, having received a call to become the founding pastor of a new congregation on the west side of Austin, Minnesota. The call was accepted and the family moved at the end of January 1953.
The Home Mission Department promised to finance the mission up to $100,000 with the challenge the congregation, yet to be established, would do its best to become self-supporting in six months. It was a goal and one they met. They were given liberty to make most of their own decisions.
Being a part of that program was enriching for members. On Labor Day 1953, the congregation was organized, and construction of the first unit began. He said he didn’t believe any pastor could have had a more rewarding experience than the one given him to be part of such an adventure. It is a great congregation with a world-wide mission. Their youngest daughter, Barbara Ruth, was born in Austin. The entire family was thrilled to be part of this adventure. He also served on the Austin School Board for nine years, an experience he loved and was glad to be part of. All four girls received their education in Austin, and think of Austin as home.
In 2014, Glennys received recognition at the church convention for having been ordained for 65 years.
He leaves to mourn, his wife, Margaret; his four daughters, Mary Margaret (Dan Dunsworth), Carol Ann (Richard Johnson), Sandra Jean (Robert Voelker) and Barbara Ruth (Stephen Claussen); 10 grandchildren, Emily Dunsworth, Karl Lueben, Peder Lueben, Joseph Lueben, Kyrie Voelker, Kaia Kossman, Solveig Voelker McGhee, Mari Sayler, Samuel Claussen and Karin Claussen; five great-grandchildren: Anna and Owen Kossman, Tony Pledger, Myron Sayler and Leo Lueben; a brother, Caleb Knutson, Radcliffe; and a sister, Rhoda Oscarson, Long Beach, California.
In 2014, after living in Austin for 61 years, he and Margaret moved to an assisted living facility in New Brighton, to be nearer family. They considered Austin home and chose Austin as their resting place.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30, at Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Austin with the Rev. Karen Behling and the Rev. Mollie Dvorak officiating. Interment will be at Oakwood Cemetery with Austin Post 91 American Legion in charge of military rites. Visitation will be at the church one hour before the service.
Memorials are preferred to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Good Earth Village, or Luther Seminary. Clasen-Jordan Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.