Robert M. “Bob” Knudsen passed away at his home in Brookings on Dec. 23, 2011. He was 87.
Bob was born Nov. 27, 1924, in Winona, Minn., to Dr. Knud Michael Knudsen XI and Mildred Clarinda (Palmetier) Knudsen (“Millie”). His parents broke a centuries-long family tradition by naming their son “Robert” instead of Knud, which probably helped imbue in Bob his wonderful sense of humor and perspective.
Bob’s father passed away when Bob was only 5. The remaining family then moved to Ukiah, California. During his youth, Bob distinguished himself as self-reliant, humorous, astoundingly entrepreneurial, and generous to a fault – remarkable characteristics that remained with him his entire life.
After high school, Bob graduated from the Maritime Academy in Vallejo, Calif., and later married his beloved wife Marjorie, now deceased.
He served in the U.S. Merchant Marine at the outset of World War II and subsequently served his country in WW II and in the Korean conflict as a Navy officer.
Bob would own and operate his own men’s fine clothing store before beginning what would be a 33 year career with the State of California. He served in various capacities including chief engineer at the Chino Womens’ Prison, business manager for the Fred C. Nelles corrections facility in Whittier, Calif., and finally as California Governor Ronald Regan’s chief of Buildings and Grounds where he managed the entire state-owned physical plant and associated properties, and supervised over 2,000 employees who respected and admired him.
Bob retired in 1979 and moved to his vacation property in Oregon on the Umpqua River while he and his wife Marjorie Knudsen built a home in Brookings. Bob was active in the Shriners, Masons, Scottish Rite, B.P.O.E and the Jolly Corks, the precursor club to the Elks. In addition, he served tirelessly in leadership capacities for countless other non-profit organizations.
His two favorite places were the ocean and Mexico. He would make annual trips to Baja, Calif., for many years. Bob also enjoyed fishing, hunting and woodworking: He was always creating whatever he needed with astounding craftsmanship and ingenuity.
Among other things, Bob will be remembered for his love, steadfast devotion to his family and friends, keen intellect, and generosity. He will be truly missed by those who had the opportunity to know and admire him.
Survivors include his beloved companion, Peggy Lewis of Brookings; sons Michael Knudsen and his wife Diana of Dover, Penn., Robert Knudsen and his wife Teri of Charlotte, N.C., Kurt Knudsen and his wife Vicki of Jacksonville; grandchildren Anna, Robin, Mark, and Matthew; and great-grandchild Sophie. Bob was preceded in death by his wife, Marjorie, and two sisters.
Memorial contributions may be made to the charity of the donor’s choice.
At his request, a private family ceremony will be held.
Condolences may be expressed online at www.redwoodmemorial.net.
Submitted by Redwood Memorial Chapel