Nancy Knutson left our world peacefully on Friday, October 5, 2018, in Riverview, Missouri. She was born on October 17, 1970, to Ramona and Conrad Knutson, parents that Nancy would have chosen herself if given the opportunity.
This little bundle of joy was taken home to Florissant, MO to meet big brothers Mark, Mike and Matt and sister, Julie Knutson Draper. Eventually Scot Draper and Sheila (Mike’s wife) joined the family.
Nancy was the most warm, loving, very best Mom she could be to Alysa Starz, Jeffrey Stewart and last but surely not least, Thelma Jean. Thelma Jean is a true blessing created by Jeff King’s and Nancy’s lifelong partnership of love for over twenty years. Nancy’s eyes sparkled when her kid’s names were mentioned and every part of her being came alive.
Alysa and son-in-law, John Starz’s wedding day was truly a fairy tale day for Nancy. Nicole and Jessica Draper had the silliest goofiest, craziest, most devoted, loving aunt any two nieces could treasure.
Nancy’s parent’s surnames, Knutson and Thompson, could only mean one thing…lots and lots of Norwegian aunts, uncles and cousins, and she loved them all so much, along with her proud Norwegian heritage. Chuckling as we saw her recent Facebook post, “Guten Morgen”. How can we not think of Nancy and those words with our morning coffee, and smile!
Nancy’s beautiful smile appeared quickly and often. It didn’t take much for our Nancy to be happy: family, friends, home, gardening, reading, flowers, holidays, Wisconsin, music, camping, trout fishing at Bennett Springs, polka dotted scarfs, laughing really hard, making new memories, her loved pets, and the love of her Lord.
Rather than trying to explain Nancy in words, here are some of her most recent Facebook posts:
“Family” isn’t defined only by last names or by blood; it’s defined by commitment and by love. It means showing up when they need it most. It means having each other’s backs. It means choosing to love each other even on those days when you struggle to like each other. It means never giving up on each other!
“Just the simple things” “She did not need much, wanted very little. A kind word, sincerity, fresh air, clean water, a garden, kisses, books to read, sheltering arms, a cozy bed, and to love and be loved in return
–Stanna Neely Blade”
Nancy fought a long, insufferable battle with mental illness; an illness as real and horrific as any cancer or terminal disease. There is one huge difference, as Nancy knew and tried so hard to share with us. Unless you have suffered with this illness, it is impossible to understand it. Let this be Nancy’s legacy!
Let us learn from Nancy and open our eyes and reach out to others struggling with mental illness. Let’s not be afraid or shy away from the words mental illness. Let’s always remember how brave and courage this precious woman was. If we help one person in Nancy’s name, then we have honored her memory.
Here are some other Facebook posts Nancy shared recently:
“I don’t know of any other disease other than mental illness where the person who is sick has to apologize constantly for being ill. Just saying.”
“I can talk to you about broken families, addiction, depression, loss, survival, grief, heartache, death, abuse, neglect, abandonment, suicide and betrayal. I can also talk to you about empathy, kindness, compassion, love, energy, forgiveness, self-love, self-care, strength, peace, healing, recovery, unity, gratitude, grace, hope and the power of positivity. All of these experiences have taken part in creating the woman I am today. I am a combination of both the light and the darkness. I may be flawed but even with rough edges I’m still worth loving. I am not ashamed of my story. I am a survivor, Donna “
A celebration of life will be held for Nancy on Saturday, October 20th, from 3:00-8:00pm. To all of those that new and loved our Nancy, please bring your tears, because saying goodbye is so painful. Please bring your smiles and your stories and your memories to share. Please bring your arms to wrap around.
In lieu of flowers, Nancy’s family has requested donations to Thelma Jean’s education fund. If you feel compelled to bring flowers, please share live flowers from your garden, or from anywhere, that the family can plant, and they can smile at Nancy’s memory next spring. Please fold your hands or just close your eyes, and pray the last prayer this kind, loving soul shared with us:
“Dear God, Please help me, I am not strong enough on my own, I need you now and always. Please take me in your arms and hold me tight. Please protect me from this world and all of this pain. Please heal my heart and soul and make me whole again. In Your name Amen.”
Let our last words be the quote she loved most;
“A human life is just a heartbeat in heaven.” ~Robin Williams
Nancy’s celebration of life will take place at The Knights of Columbus Hall;
Saturday, October 20th, from 3:00-8:00pm. Food provided, BYOB.
1216 Teson Road
Hazelwood, MO 63042
All friends and family welcome. Casual gathering and celebration.
Our beautiful Nancy will be laid in her final resting place on Sunday, October 21st at Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery 1:00-1:30pm;
1027 S 6th Street
Saint Charles, MO 63301
In Nancy’s memory, checks can be made out to:
Thelma Jean King
Mail to: First Community Credit Union
3440 HWY K
O’Fallon MO 63368
Contributions may be made to: https://www.gofundme.com/thelma-jean