Darrell Knutson


1 PM - 2 PM
Monday, April 1, 2024
O'Connell Family Funeral Home
520 11th Street South
Hudson WI, 54016

Funeral Service

2 PM - 3 PM
Monday, April 1, 2024
O'Connell Family Funeral Home
520 11th Street South
Hudson WI, 54016

Darrell Gene Knutson, of Eau Claire, WI, (formerly New Richmond, WI) passed away peacefully in his home on Friday, March 22, 2024, at the age of 73.

Darrell, known as Rusty, was born in Tracy, MN, on October 14, 1950, to Tracy and Doris (Mork) Knutson. His family relocated several times during his childhood, eventually settling in North St. Paul, MN, where he graduated from North St. Paul High School in 1969. On August 13, 1969, he met Joan Kehl, whom he married on August 13, 1971.

The couple moved to Chaska, MN, where Darrell continued working for Ditch Witch of MN. In 1972, they relocated to Stillwater, MN, and in the following years, welcomed a daughter and a son into their family. They resided in Stillwater until 1982 when they made their move to a small hobby farm outside of New Richmond, WI.

Darrell began his career with Northern States Power Co. in 1972, working at the Allen S. King Plant as a Coal Operator. Through promotions, he eventually became Superintendent of Operations and retired as Special Project Manager. Alongside his career, Darrell pursued various entrepreneurial endeavors. During the 1970s and early 1980s, he owned a small construction company, building and remodeling homes in Stillwater and Houlton, WI. In the early 1990s, Darrell and Joan purchased the Kettle Falls Hotel in Voyageurs National Park, operating it until 1996.

Darrell placed immense value on family, spending time with his children and taking pride in their achievements. Family vacations were a special time, with numerous memories created on trips to Disney World and the Wisconsin Dells, always with his kids at the heart of these adventures. Darrell never missed an opportunity to be at Adam’s basketball games or Jessica’s dance team performances.

Darrell’s hobbies included his passion for horses, owning dozens of riding, driving, and draft horses since his teenage years. He enjoyed life on his hobby farm, caring for various animals, tending to hay fields, and growing gardens. He also had a fondness for collecting guns and hunting pheasants and deer on his property. Music was another passion, often finding him behind a guitar. They were known for hosting lively parties and celebrations, ensuring everyone had a good time. Family gatherings always concluded with Darrell, alongside his gifted family members—Terry on guitar and harmony, Bill with the fiddle, Bob on bass, Doris at the piano, Max and Diane providing vocals, and Charlie strumming the guitar—singing and playing their hearts out.

From 1998 to 2015, Darrell welcomed nine grandchildren to his family. Holidays were marked by many fun events, including winter sleigh rides, Easter egg hunts, waterslides, and sleepover parties. From attending parades and school and sporting events, to giving guitar and shooting lessons, Darrell was immersed in his grandchildren’s lives and loved them all dearly.

In May 2010, Darrell lost his beloved wife Joan to cancer. For Darrell, faith was of utmost importance, deriving comfort and strength from his daily routine of listening to John McArthur’s sermons and classic gospel music.

In 2011, Darrell’s life took a beautiful turn when he met Teresa Pfaff, and by May 4th, 2012, their love was celebrated in marriage, marking the beginning of a new chapter together. Darrell and Teresa decided to move from his hobby farm in New Richmond, WI, to Holcombe, WI, where they envisioned creating a welcoming home to enjoy their retirement and the joy of each other’s company.

Darrell welcomed Teresa’s three children and six grandchildren into his life. Darrell and Teresa’s mutual affection for horses, their zest for travel adventures, and the happiness they found in the company of their energetic dog, Duke, beautifully intertwined in their lives together. As Darrell’s health began to wane, Teresa’s care and dedication were unwavering, a testament to the bond they shared.

While in Holcombe, Darrell and Teresa cultivated friendships within the Amish community, taking joy in providing transportation for their Amish friends. The Amish community was always available to lend a helping hand as well.

Darrell is survived by his wife, Teresa Knutson of Eau Claire, WI; children, Jessica (Dan) Link of Osceola, WI; Adam (Amanda) Knutson of Bonita Springs, FL; grandchildren, Ellie (Mason) Tegg and Madison Link; Anna, Aaron, Aidan, Anders, AJ, Archer, and Ainsley Knutson; step-children, Jennifer Pfaff of Madison, WI; Jessica Johnson of McFarland, WI; Joshua Pfaff (fiancé Kelly) of Madison, WI; step-grandchildren, Tristan, Ashley, Donovan, Chloe, Joe, and Lorena; and sister, Diane (Charlie) Short of North Richland Hills, TX; He is also survived by many other family members, friends, and Duke.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Joan Knutson; parents, Tracy and Doris Knutson; brothers, Terry and Danny Knutson; and parents-in-law, Herman and Lorraine Kehl.
A visitation for Darrell will be held at 1pm, followed by a funeral service at 2pm on Monday, April 1, 2024, at the O’Connell Family Funeral Home in Hudson, WI. After the service, burial will take place at Willow River Cemetery in Hudson, WI. A reception will subsequently be held at the St. Croix Yacht Club in Stillwater, MN.


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