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Russell Raymond Knutzen was born at the Lawrence and Emilie (Christenson) Knutzen family farm west of Ong, Ne. on July 15th,1944. The doctor was paid for in dimes that Emilie had saved for nine months. He departed this life on Wednesday September 20th, 2023, at Fairview Manor in Fairmont, Ne.
Russell attended Ong grade school. Russ also attended Ong Jr/Sr High where he honed and showcased his basketball skills before graduating in the spring of 1962. In the fall of 1962, he packed his basketball skills to play for The Little Blue at Fairbury Junior College in Fairbury, Ne. where he received his business degree in the spring of 1964.
In the summer of 1964, Russell and Myfanwy “Sue” (Moore) were united in marriage. Two sons were brought forth from this marriage. Randall Lawrence “The Golden Child” in 1965 and Rodney Lynn “The Black Sheep” in 1967. Russell and Sue resided in the Ong/Edgar area where Russell worked for Don Schrock Farms, M.A.R.C. in Clay Center, Ne. and for Dial Finance in Hastings, Ne and Millard, Ne. In 1972 they returned to Edgar, Ne. to farm Leland Hawley’s ground and then in 1976, moved to the Christenson homestead just west of Ong, Ne. to continue his love of farming taking care of the family ground until 2006 when he retired from farming.
Russ always loved livestock. Raising Angus cattle with Lawrence when he was growing up, to having a hog finishing operation in the 70’s and early 80’s. In 1982 Rodney’s FFA project started a 30-year whirlwind of blood, sweat and tears in the Suffolk sheep business. Russ and Sue loved every aspect of raising sheep. Life’s lessons were abundantly taught in the barn. The hard work of cleaning pens, the joy of saving new lambs born to the tears of losing a lamb to a tree branch falling at the wrong time. We often heard “I don’t know why they call it livestock; they should call it deadstock”. Their “vacations” were centered around sheep. He loved to take his grandsons to shows/sales and to other producers in his search for the best buck for the flock. He loved to sit at the pens and just talk about bloodlines, genetics and the sheep industry in general. Their crowning moment was having the 2011 Champion Suffolk Ewe at the Midwest Stud Ram Show in Sedalia Missouri.
Russell’s true love was Sue and his family. He was involved in the Ong Lions Club, Ong School Board, Nebraska Sheep Association, National Suffolk Sheep Association and helped with the 4-H and FFA projects of Randy and Rodney. Russ accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior, baptized in the Holy Spirit and was a board member of the Connect Church (Assembly of God) in Geneva, Ne.
Russell’s other love was sports. He was on the Ong softball team and was a basketball referee with Duane Schrock in the 70’s and 80’s. Always there whenever something was happening that involved us or grandkids. If we were on the team, he was there to watch whether we played or not. In his later years you could always walk into their house and some sport was on the tv. Hockey, golf, basketball, baseball, football, billiards, horse races and the occasional cattle auction. A beloved fan of any Husker’s sport, Boston Celtics, New York Yankees and the Denver Donkeys (Broncos). He loved to just watch others being able to play the games he loved to growing up. He was also known to be a wee bit sarcastic and always loved a good or bad joke.
Russell is preceded in death by his wife Myfanwy “Sue” Knutzen, his parents Lawrence and Emilie (Christenson) Knutzen of Ong, Ne. Brother in laws Eugene Ahlstrom of Omaha, Ne., Bill Reichhoff of Omaha, Ne. and Micheal Moore of Edgar, Ne. Brother/Sister in laws Monte (Pat) & Meredith Moore of Edgar, Ne. and Roy & Marilyn (Moore) Lautenschlager of Hastings, Ne.
Russell is survived by his sister Ellen (Knutzen) Ahlstrom-Reichhoff. Two sons, Randall Lawrence & wife Renee’ Lynn (Sisson) Knutzen of York, Ne. Rodney Lynn & wife Annalisa (Kuykendall) Knutzen of Edgar, Ne. Grandchildren Mathew Russell & wife Katherine Ann of Columbus, Ne., Airman Zachary Lawrence & wife Courtney of Wichita, Ks., Airman Samuel William Knutzen of Altus, Ok., Emilee Jane Knutzen and fiancé Jaxon Gassman of Lincoln, Ne., Wyatt Lynn Knutzen of Edgar, Ne. and Allyson Reese Knutzen of Edgar, Ne. Great Grandchildren Nalia Rose Knutzen, Kellan Lawrence Knutzen and Brinley Ann Knutzen all of Wichita, Ks. Sister-in-law Linda Moore of Edgar, Ne. Numerous nephews/nieces, great nephews/nieces, great-great nephews/nieces and friends from the community, church, and the Suffolk business.
Russell and Sue’s favorite charity is St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. In lieu of flowers the family would like to have them receive the memorials. They both believed that God truly loves children and that they should receive the best care to carry on his will.
Funeral services will be Thursday, 10:00 am, September 28, 2023, at the Connect Church in Geneva, Nebraska with Pastor Galen Rasmussen officiating. Interment will be at the Ong Cemetery, Ong, Nebraska.
Memorials are suggested to St. Jude Children's Hospital.
Williams Funeral Home
219 North C Street
Edgar, Nebraska 68935