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OBIT: Lanita Esther Knutson

Long-time Clear Lake resident LaNita E. (Bird) Knutson, 96, passed away on Monday, January 30, 2023 at the IOOF Home in Mason City, Iowa.

Long-time Clear Lake resident LaNita E. (Bird) Knutson, 96, passed away on Monday, January 30, 2023 at the IOOF Home in Mason City, Iowa.

A celebration of her life will be held on 11:00 a.m., Saturday, May 13, 2023, at Ward Van Slyke Colonial Chapel, 310 1st Ave. North, Clear Lake. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service at the funeral home. A private family inurnment will be held at Clear Lake Cemetery. In lieu of flowers memorials may be directed to the family.

LaNita was born on March 4, 1926 in Spencer, SD to Ida (Patro) Bird Whelan and Harold Bird. She graduated from Richmond Beach (Washington) High School in 1944. After graduation she began working in the accounting department at Pacific Bell Telephone Company in Washington. In 1946 she transferred to North Iowa and worked at Northwestern Bell in Mason City as a telephone operator. At the December 1948 Northwestern Bell Christmas party, she was introduced to Kenneth Knutson, and they were married on March 19, 1950 at Zion Lutheran Church in Clear Lake. They made their home in Clear Lake and had four children: Janae, Terri, Marna, and Allan. Kenney died in 1982.

LaNita worked many years at the Ben Franklin Store in Clear Lake in the fabric department. She was active in the VFW Ladies Auxiliary, serving many meals.

LaNita was a strong, independent woman who was a true survivor. She faced adverse situations head on and never backed down. She believed in family first and taught her children numerous lessons through her life experiences. In her retirement years, she enjoyed traveling.

LaNita is survived by her four children: Janae Haygood and her children Rick and Katie (Austin Minnihan); Terri (Stuart) Tell and children Derreck, Jarrod (Lindsey), and Jilann; Marna (Jon) Mathews and children Chelsea (Ben) Schaefer and Emily (Skylar) Mongan; and Al (Doris) Knutson; great-grandchildren Brooklynn, Charlotte, Lynnlee, Gunner, Emrynn, Ellias, and Ellie; brothers Bill (Jean) Whelan and Bob (Mavis) Whelan, several nieces and nephews, and many cousins.

She was preceded in death by her husband Kenneth, mother Ida Whelan and stepfather Loren Whelan, father Harold Bird, in-laws Andrew and Fanny Knutson, grandparents Fred and Emma Patro, and brother Ronald Whelan.

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