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View a eulogy for John Arthur Knutzen, USMA '64, who passed away on June 11, 2005.

John Arthur Knutzen

West Point, 1964

Be Thou At Peace

Posted by Bob Gregson on July 13, 2005:

Big John was a great friend and roomate. We spent cow year and part of firstie year as roomates, along with Clair Thurston....two star men daily duking it out for GPA (they ended up #20 and 22 in the final class standing) plus me, who never did understand calculus, among other important engineering things. One thing I hold against John is that even though he tried, he never could expain calculus to me. He may never have forgiven me for not getting it, either, because it all seemed so simple to him! We had great debates after taps in that room. John was typically the quiet moderator while Clair and I had substantially different views on topics like what really won WWII for us, how much ethics should be involved in warfare, what is the nature of God, and similar lightweight subjects. Those were reasoned, gentlemanly three-way debates which I still greatly treasure.

Some other great memories are of intermurder football. John was the H-1 team star (can you call a person a star on a team that only won a couple of games in two years? Yes, in John's case!) and captain both years, as I recall, and even though we were an inexperienced, ineffective team, we tried hard to emulate his quiet, highly effective example set in the middle of the line. John and our indominatable (sp?) classmate John Farnsworth made what could have been a pretty dismal experience otherwise enjoyable.

John and I had a couple of nice double dates with some Boston-area girls cow year, and also had a great time on the First Class trip. John showed himself as the class act that he was when some of us took a day side trip to West Palm Beach and the Everglades, courtesy of the local West Point Society. Just after dinner, as we went off to see the ciy in our dress whites with dates dressed in their finery, John's date tripped on something and wound up bleeding fairly heavily, ending the evening's enjoyment. While we sat on a curb waiting for medical attention, John took off his white jacket and wrapped it around the very upset young woman. I suspect the jacket was ruined. He didn't give it a thought---he just did the right thing when needed.

We didn't cross paths after West Point until later years when MS had set in. What an example John set as he met that difficulty head on! I marveled when we got together in his hometown near Seattle about ten years ago, how he was taking the wheel chair, the speech difficulty, and all the rest, in stride. It was the same old Big John, regardless of physical limitations. And that's how I'll always remember him. Courageous, determined, quiet, calm, highly intelligent, capable, and a friend forever.

Bob Gregson

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