Donald Knutson

Obituary of Donald S. Knutson

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Donald S. Knutson, 88, passed away peacefully at Artis Senior Living in Princeton, NJ with family at his side on December 11, 2020.  Born June 24, 1932 in Hartford, CT to the late Axel J. and Helga (Johnson) Knutson. He grew up in Wethersfield, CT and spent many, joyful summers at the family farm in Waterville, Quebec. Family and relatives were always an important part of his life and he stayed well-connected with all of them throughout his life.

Following graduation from Trinity College in Hartford, CT with a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering, Donald went to work for Westinghouse. He went on to earn a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at Drexel University in Philadelphia. He accepted an engineering position at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory in early 1966, where he worked on fusion energy research, and ultimately the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor (TFTR). Donald became Principal Engineer of the Mechanical Engineering Section. He retired from the Laboratory in 1997 after 31 years.

Donald was a life-long player and fan of ice hockey, and greatly enjoyed participation as part of Princeton University’s Intramural League. He was an accomplished accordion player and performed, recorded, and traveled with the Scandinavian Accordion Club of NY. He was a closet-historian who extensively researched genealogy and published books on his family’s history dating back to the time of Vikings in Scandinavia. 

Donald and Gunilla, his wife of 44 years, enjoyed traveling together internationally, especially to Sweden.  They also were fond of classical music, opera and theater.  Donald loved spending time with his six grandchildren.  He enjoyed seeing family in their lakeside cottage in Harrisville, NH. Don was a talented builder who finished large projects such as a garage and sauna. He will be remembered fondly for his kind disposition, gentle nature, and generosity. 

He was predeceased in 1972 by his first wife Barbro E. (Bjornsson) Knutson.

He is survived by his wife Ebba Gunilla (Olsson) Knutson, his daughters: Ellen (Mark) Kramm, Lisa (Donald) Hamnes, Carol Knutson, Linda (Andrew) Fiscus, and Maria (Nathan) Adkins, and six grandchildren: Karin, Sarah, Grete, Daniel, Steven and Klara.

A memorial service will be planned for a later date in Harrisville, NH.

In lieu of flowers, honorary donations to a favorite charity are welcome.

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