Hamilton County


Irving Howard ‘Knute’ Knudson, Jr.




Irving Howard ‘Knute’ Knudson, Jr. was born Oct. 6, 1922 to Irving Howard (Sr.) and Leafy B. Bergum Knudson. He died Feb. 18, 2016 and is buried in Beaufort National Cemetery, Beaufort, SC.

Irving served with the U.S. Navy in World War II.

His Obituary:

Irving Howard “Knute” Knudson passed away at his home in Beaufort, SC on February 18, 2016.

He was born in Iowa on October 6, 1922 and lived there until he entered college. He attended the University of Iowa for one year before being appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy. After graduation from the Academy in 1944, he married Ann Sawyer Dickinson, who was the love of his life.

During WWII, he served aboard the USS Atule Submarine (SS403) and was in combat in the Pacific during sinking several enemy warships and cargo ships. Following WWII, he went to flight school and earned his “Wings of Navy Gold.” He was a Naval Aviator for the remainder of his 30-year Naval career, including serving as the Commander of the Naval Air Wing on the US Aircraft Carriers, USS Wasp (CVS-18) and USS Lake Champlain (CVS-39). During the Cuban missile crisis he took reconnaissance photos and enjoyed telling the story that he was flying so low he could see a woman on one of the Russian ships shaking her broom at him. His Naval career also included tours at the National War College and the Stanford University Naval Leadership Program.

His last tour of duty with the Navy was at Purdue University where he commanded the Navy ROTC Unit. He enjoyed this tour immensely, including coaching the NROTC students in intramural basketball, and he took special pride in commanding the first women to be admitted to a Navy ROTC Unit.

He also enjoyed living on Lake Freeman, teaching his grandchildren to water ski, and having them visit for many summers.

He retired from the Navy as a Captain. He then formed and headed Purdue University’s Development Office and served as its initial director for 10 years.

In 1982, he retired again and moved to Beaufort, SC. There, he became involved in civic affairs and new career challenges. He served on the Main Street Beaufort USA Association, the Historic Beaufort Foundation, the Arts Council, the Beaufort Memorial Hospital Foundation, the Tourism Management Advisory Committee, and the Beaufort County Open Land Trust.

He took great pride in pointing out the beautiful views that the Trust preserved around Beaufort. In addition to flying, Knute was an avid sailor, piloting his 37 foot sailboat “Fairwind” in the British Virgin Islands, Beaufort Sound, and up and down the Intracoastal Waterway, and even living on the sailboat for 10 months during a home renovation. He also enjoyed playing golf and the companionship of his beloved dogs.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 62 years, Ann Sawyer Dickinson, by his parents, Irving Howard and Leafy Knudson, and his brother Jackie. He is survived by his sister, Metta Nell “Mitzi” Gillespie in Pulaski, TN; three daughters, Kristen Knudson in Kennesaw, GA, Debby Thomas in Seabrook, SC, Kathryn Knudson (Scott Hobby) in Atlanta, GA; three grandchildren, James Wyatt, Joseph Wyatt (Lupe), and Lauren Kohn (Adam); four great grandchildren; his friend and sailing partner, Ernest Thomas; and his longtime caregiver, Georgeanne Smalls.

Knute was a very special man and will be greatly missed by his family, his friends and the community.

A graveside service with U.S. Military Honors will be held at 11 am at Beaufort National Cemetery, 1601 Boundary St., Beaufort, SC 29902 (843) 524-3925.

Source: ancestry.com