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April 07, 2003 5:31 am

Rita Wilder Knutson

Written by Tribune Staff

(Nov. 13, 1918 - April 9, 2003)

Funeral services will be held April 16 at Hope Lutheran Church in Seattle, Wash., for a former Powell resident, Rita Wilder Knutson, 84, who died Wednesday, April 9 at Stevens Memorial Hospital, Edmonds, Wash.

She was born in Sifton, Wash., to Thomas A. and Maude M. Wilder on Nov. 13, 1918. Shortly after her birth, the family moved to the Powell valley where she spent her growing up years.

She graduated from Powell High School in 1936 and attended Billings Technical School in 1942 to receive training to become a mechanic. She proceeded immediately to employment with the Boeing Company in Seattle in 1942 as a wing mechanic and riveter.

It was there she met the love of her life, her husband-to-be, Kenneth Knutson. They were married March 10, 1946, and spent their married life in Seattle. They had two children, Kevin Lee in 1954 and Kimberly Sue in 1956.
She enjoyed and took pride in her role as a wife, mother and homemaker. In 1964, she tried her hand in cooking outside the home. She went to work for the Shoreline School District in the kitchen at Shorecrest High School. She always enjoyed the kitchen and the kids.

The Knutsons were charter members of Hope Lutheran Church. She dedicated over 50 years of her life, volunteering and helping to build the Christian community there. Two charities to which she was particularly devoted included Foss Home and Helpmates for the Norwegian Male Choir.

Family members make clear that she was small in stature only, remarking that "she lived every day to the fullest and was sure to make every minute count- a waster of time, she was not. She was full of energy and lots of fun to all who knew her. There was very little that she was unable to do. The word independent was part of her life long before the Women's Lib movement. She taught those around her very valuable lessons by the example that she set in her daily life in loving, giving and caring for others."

Survivors include her son, Kevin L. Knutson and his wife Robin and their children, Nicole, Michelle, Ileah, Kira and Kenneth; her daughter, Kimberly and her children, Rick, Joshua and Jacquelyn; two brothers, Richard R. Wilder of Cody and Howard Wilder of Powell; and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Ken; her grandson, Alex; her parents; and her sisters, Mary Hansen, Martha Wilder and Ruth Barber.

Services will be provided by Evergreen-Washelli.