Betty J. Knudson

FAIRMONT – Funeral services for Betty J. Knudson, 87, of Fairmont, Minn., will be 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013, at Grace Lutheran Church in Fairmont with interment in Lakeside Cemetery, Fairmont. Betty passed away Sunday morning, Dec. 22, 2013, at Mayo Clinic Health System-Lutz Wing in Fairmont. Visitation will be 4-6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 27, 2013, at Lakeview Funeral Home in Fairmont, and will continue one hour prior to the time of services Saturday at the church. Betty led a life of Christian values and lived it well. Lakeview Funeral Home and Cremation Service of Fairmont is assisting the family with arrangements.

Betty Jane (Hudson) Knudson was born March 25, 1926, in Albin Township, Brown County, Minn., the daughter of Thomas Mason Hudson and Hilma Catherine (Strom) Hudson. The middle child of five, Betty has three living sisters and was preceded in death by her brother, Richard Hudson. Betty grew up on the family farm in rural St. James, Minn. Her father, Thomas, was killed in a hunting accident in 1933, at the age of 33, leaving her mother, Hilma, to raise five children on the family farm during very difficult times. Betty graduated from St. James High School in 1944. Betty met the love of her life, Russell B. Knudson, in rural St. James. Russell, who was an airman in the U.S. Army Air Corps, was training in Boise, Idaho, at Gowan Airfield in June of 1945, when Betty boarded a train and headed there to get married. She told the story of how she shared the train with many soldiers heading to the West Coast. Betty and Russ were united in marriage on June 23, 1945, in the chapel at Gowan Airfield with some of Russ’ crew members joining the festivities. When the war ended and Russ was honorably discharged from the military, they returned to Minnesota, where Russ enrolled at the University of Minnesota. They lived in student housing in Minneapolis and after Russ’ graduation moved to Fairmont in 1948, where he began working at Fairmont Railway Motors. By this time, they had twin girls and their life in Fairmont began. Like so many after World War II, Betty and Russ lived the American story. They worked hard, raised their four children, saved and took care of themselves. Betty was a long-time member of Grace Lutheran Church in Fairmont, sang in the choir for decades, volunteered endlessly and shared her talents with those in need, singing at many life events for people in the area; she loved music. Betty cherished her Norwegian heritage, and her family especially enjoyed her Norsk baking. On Syttende Mai, the Norwegian Constitution Day, Betty enthusiastically celebrated this heritage. Betty served as a member of the board of directors of the Fairmont Community Hospital and volunteered for many years in the hospital gift shop. If you were anywhere near her, you knew Betty because she made sure to greet you. She loved life and lived it to the fullest. In 1995, she was awarded the Fairmont Exchange Club’s Book of Golden Deeds Award for her untiring volunteer work. After suffering a debilitating stroke in 1997, life changed for Betty and her beloved Russ. After several difficult years trying to maintain their independence, Russ and Betty left their home of more than 50 years on Belle Vue Road and moved to Goldfinch. Betty, needing additional care, entered Lutz Wing, where she has been a resident since.

Betty leaves her family and friends to celebrate her life: daughters, Kathryn Felix of Minneapolis, Minn., Kathleen Arndt and her partner, Scott Helmes, of St. Paul, Minn., Nancy Fisch and her husband, Michael, of Peoria, Ariz., and Judith Strommen and her husband, James, of Minnetonka, Minn.; grandchildren, Jennifer Fisch of Marina del Rey, Calif., Elizabeth “Betsy” Fisch Linder and her husband, Aaron Linder, of Charlotte, N.C., Dana Strommen of Los Angeles, Calif., Christopher Strommen of Victoria, Minn., and Rachel Strommen of Minnetonka, Minn.; great-grandchildren, Kaia Fittz of Marina del Rey, Calif., and Colin and Zach Linder of Charlotte, N.C. She also leaves her sisters, Arlene Hagen and her husband, Stanley, of St. James, Minn., Lee Anderson of Owens Cross Roads, Ala., and Donna Schmidt of St. James, Minn.; sister-in-law, Marilyn Hudson of New Ulm, Minn.; many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Along with her parents, Thomas and Hilma Hudson, Betty is preceded in death by her husband, Russell Knudson; brother, Richard Hudson; and brothers-in-law, Paul Schmidt and Armon Anderson.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be sent to the Godahl Store (founded by Betty and Russ’ ancestors), 26027 Godahl Drive, St. James, MN, 56081, to the Lutz Wing Foundation, or Grace Lutheran Church in Fairmont.