Cover photo for Donald Duane Knutson's Obituary
Donald Duane Knutson Profile Photo

Donald Duane Knutson

December 20, 1935 — January 10, 2024

Little Rock

Donald Duane Knutson

Donald Duane Knutson passed away on January 10, 2024.  Don was 88 years old.  Don was born December 20, 1935 in Minneapolis, Minnesota and was reared in Austin, Minnesota by his loving adoptive parents, Clarence Simon Knutson and Caroline Rose Blahnik Knutson, both of whom preceded Don in death.  Surviving Don are his beloved wife of almost 59 years, Norma Joyce Freyermuth Knutson, daughter Lynn Dawn Leach and her husband Kent of Plano, Texas, son Gregg Austin Knutson and his wife Piper of Benton, daughter Karen Gillette Courtney and her husband Chris of Chicago, Illinois, and four grandchildren, Ryan Andrew Leach (Megan) of Frisco, Texas, Caroline Elizabeth Leach, of Plano, Texas, Riley Arden Courtney of Chicago, Illinois, Abigail Rose Knutson of Benton, Arkansas, and one great-granddaughter, Olivia Willow Leach of Frisco, Texas. Don was adopted by Clarence and Caroline in August 1937, and in 1997, after they had both passed, Don was able to locate Lillian Pladson Buchholz, his birth mother, who passed away in 2014.  Don and his family developed a loving and close relationship with Lillian and her family.  In 2012, Don also located the family of his birth father, Chet Anderson, in Minnesota, who received him with warmth and grace.  Chet passed away in 1991, never knowing he had fathered Don.

Don was a veteran of 20 years military service.  His primary military duty for 19 ½ years was that of a United States Army Counterintelligence Special Agent, serving overseas tours of duty in Korea, Germany, and in Viet Nam, where he served with the 5th Special Forces Group in 1969 and 1970.  Among Don’s numerous military awards were the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Services Commendation Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters.  After retirement from active military duty in 1977 as a Chief Warrant Officer, Don joined Safeway Stores, Inc., serving in Little Rock as corporate security director with Safeway Stores, Inc., Harvest Foods, Inc., and Supermarket Investors, Inc.  Throughout his life, Don believed strongly in the authority of Scripture and the centrality of Christ in each of our lives.  Don served each church he belonged to with love and faithfulness.

Visitation:  Smith Family Funeral Home, Little Rock, January 18, 2024 at 3:00 p.m. until 4:45 p.m.

Interment: Private family graveside burial service at Arkansas State Veterans’ Cemetery, North Little Rock, January 19, 2024 at 9:00 a.m.

Don asked that all memorials be made to Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, 2400 Park Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Donald Duane Knutson, please visit our flower store.
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Past Services


Thursday, January 18, 2024

3:00 - 4:45 pm (Central time)

Smith Family Funeral Home Little Rock

8801 Knoedl Ct., Little Rock, AR 72205

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Graveside Service

Friday, January 19, 2024

9:00 - 9:30 am (Central time)

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