Cover photo for Mary Jo Knutson's Obituary
Mary Jo Knutson Profile Photo
1962 Mary 2020

Mary Jo Knutson

April 19, 1962 — August 23, 2020


Mary Jo Knutson, 58, of Ashby, died Sunday, August 23, at her home, under the care of her family and LB Hospice.

Mary Jo Knutson was born on April 19th, 1962 in Fergus Falls, MN to Wesley and Lois Knutson.  Her older brothers Randy and Todd welcomed her into the family.  Growing up the youngest with two older brothers she was tough and determined and this was apparent throughout her life.

In her younger years she enjoyed time fishing walleyes with her dad, listening to her mom play the organ at church and making memories with her brothers at their cabin on Stalker Lake.

In 1980 she graduated from Fergus Falls High School.  During her time in school she participated in hockey, cheerleading and track.

January 1991, she took a job at Grant County Soil and Water Conservation District where she was proudly employed for the next 29+ years.  She was dedicated to her work, her co-workers and her customers until the very last day she was able to work.

During time off work you could find Mary Jo mowing her yard or watering her flowers that she was so proud of.  Floating in her pool on sunny days, competing in local bowling leagues or taking her annual trip to the MN State fair.

She resided in Wendell, MN for much of her adult life.  She loved Wendell and enjoyed planning and participating in Wendell Santa days each December, checking in on her neighbors, taking care of the town flowers, serving on the city council and enjoying Wendell softball days and the street dances that followed.

Mary Jo was a friend to everyone she met whether you met her in a professional setting, during one of her travels or even online.  Once you were her friend you became her family.  She made each person that met her feel welcomed, understood, and loved.  She truly lived every day to the fullest and was always ready for a good time.

After knowing each other for decades Mary Jo and Michael reconnected in 2014 and quickly became loving partners and best friends.  They spent the next six and a half years traveling, taking care of each other and their animals while making the most of every day.  They were engaged on Valentine’s Day 2019 with hopes to get married the following winter somewhere warm with their toes in the sand.

After Michael came into Mary Jo’s life, she became Grandma Jo to Camden, Cayden, Callen and Casthen who love and adore her.  Their favorite memories were pool time, water balloon fights, looking through her beanie baby collection and when she would make surprise visits with Dilly Bars.

On August 23, 2020 Mary Jo lost her courageous battle with cancer.  She was at home holding Michael’s hand. She has left her mark on this world and will be deeply missed and always remembered.

She is survived by her fiancé Michael Johnson of Ashby, MN.  Brothers Randy (Brenda) Knutson and Todd Knutson of Fergus Falls, MN.  Nieces and nephew- Baily, Bekka and Sam.

She was preceded in death by her parents Wesley and Lois Knutson and her nephews Alex and Mackenzie Knutson.

In lieu of flowers or memorials the family asks that you make donations in Mary Jo’s name to the Grant County Humane Society or the American Cancer Society.

Visitation: 4  -  7 PM Friday, August 28 at Erickson-Smith Funeral Home, Elbow Lake

A Private Family Service will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church on Saturday August 29, 2020 followed by a

Gathering of Family & Friends at the Wendell Baseball Field at 1:30 P.M.

Please share your condolences online at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mary Jo Knutson, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, August 28, 2020

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Erickson-Smith Funeral Home - Elbow Lake

116 1st St NE, Elbow Lake, MN 56531

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Gathering of Family and Friends

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Starts at 1:30 pm (Central time)

Wendell Baseball Field

590 Hwy 55, Wendell, MN 56590

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Private Family Service

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