James Knutson, 92, a long-time resident of Onalaska, passed away Friday, September 18, 2020. Jim was born August 27, 1928 in La Crosse, WI to Lloyd and Christine (Merfeld) Knutson.
Jim was raised in La Crosse and graduated from Aquinas High School in 1947. After attending Loras College for two years, he enlisted in the Army in 1949 and served in Germany until 1951. Jim had the privilege to play baseball with Ernie Banks while stationed in Heidelberg. After his honorable discharged, he returned to La Crosse and met the love of his life, Elizabeth. Married in 1954, they raised five wonderful children. Jim worked for Trane Company for 32 years in their administrative offices. After retiring, he drove school bus for Ready Bus Lines for 20 years, retiring at the age of 80.
Jim is most remembered for his time as a WIAA official. Jim officiated many sports but loved to work football, basketball and baseball games. He worked several WIAA and WISAA state tournaments and served as local assignment officer for many years for the Coulee Region Official Association. He was proud to be on the “Silver Dollar Crew” that officiated area high school football games and always cherished his friendships developed over the years.
He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Elizabeth (nee Gant) Knutson, five children, Charlene Sackmaster, Steve (Donna) Knutson, Renee (Kevin Wright) Knutson, Ted (Denise) Knutson, Sharon (Ken) Peloski, 15 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by son-in-law; James Sackmaster, two sisters; Kate and Florence, three brothers; Jack, Leonard and Robert.
A Funeral Mass will be held at 10:30 AM on Wednesday September 23, 2020 in St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, 1031 Main Street, Onalaska, WI. Msgr. Steven Kachel will officiate with entombment to be held in Catholic Cemetery, La Crosse. A visitation will be held from 5 to 7:00 PM on Tuesday, September 22, 2020 in Blaschke & Schneider Funeral Home, 1501 West Ave. South.
Memorials may be made to Aquinas Catholic Schools Foundation in Jim’s honor.