Duane M. “Swede” Knott, age 89 of Walnut Grove, passed away Saturday, September 22, 2018 at Prairie View Healthcare Center in Tracy due to complications of Parkinson’s Disease. Funeral Services will be held at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, September 29 at Tracy Area Funeral Home in Tracy. Visitation will be 4:00-7:00 p.m. Friday at Tracy Area Funeral Home. Visitation will continue one hour prior to the service at the funeral home. Interment will be in the Walnut Grove Cemetery. Memorials will be given to Parkinson’s research. Online condolences may be sent at www.stephensfuneralservice.com. Stephens Funeral Service – Walnut Grove Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.
Duane M. “Swede” Knott was born February 6, 1929 to Andrew and Rosella (Anderson) Knott in Tracy, Minnesota. He was baptized and confirmed at the Methodist Church in Walnut Grove. Swede attended country school through seventh grade. He was very proud of his country school District 19 in North Hero Township. Swede graduated from Walnut Grove High School in 1947.
On October 16, 1948, he married his high school sweetheart Elaine Bauer at the Walnut Grove Methodist Church. He was a meat and potatoes man who loved Elaine’s cooking. Swede loved to tease people and give them nicknames, especially if they would give it back to him. He enjoyed the younger generation, had a great love of reading and staying current with world events and news. Swede was a lifetime member of the Walnut Grove Methodist Church. He enjoyed traveling and playing cards, especially 500. He loved the farm and everything associated with it. In 1937, when he was 7 years old, Duane moved with his family to a farm site in Johnsonville Township northeast of Walnut Grove. He grew up farming with his father Andrew, and they developed a large and diversified livestock operation. The farm was unique in that two small watersheds transected all of its land. Plum Creek was one and the Cottonwood River was the other. Both the livestock facilities and building site were in close proximity to the Cottonwood River. Duane took stewardship and conservation very seriously. In 1970 and 1971 he embarked on developing a plan to protect the Cottonwood River from feedlot runoff. He consulted and worked with people from the University of Minnesota, and received extensive planning and engineering contributions from local and area USDA Soil and Water agencies. These efforts created a comprehensive system of diversion dikes and holding basins that contained all runoff that would potentially enter the Cottonwood River. His efforts were completed before the MPCA, (which had only been in existence for 3 years) had started developing rules and regulations to control feedlot pollution in Minnesota. The other area of conservation and stewardship that greatly interested him was the management of surface runoff from tilled fields. This interest led him to construct several water retention structures. These structures had a dual purpose by creating wildlife habitat: particularly for waterfowl. Duane’s active work and management of this farm spanned over 60 years. Swede supported his family through his passion for the land. His wife was an active participant in his farming operation.
Duane is survived by his wife Elaine of 70 years; children: Janet (Gary) Jacobs of Wells, Arlen (Connie) Knott of Walnut Grove and Krista Knott-Christensen (Richard “Dick”) of St. Cloud; grandchildren: Sarah (Jeff) Nordell, Laura (David) Phillips, John (Leah) Jacobs; Abigail (Casey) Adkins, Spencer Knott, Gustave (Hilary) Radcliffe and Emily Radcliffe; great grandchildren: Brandon, Ella, Peyton, Lilyanne, Molly, Eva and Izaiah; sister Gloria Floan of St. Cloud; brother-in-law Ed Whitworth of Pacific Grove, CA; and nieces Renee Whitworth, Nora Whitworth and Margaret Burns.
He is preceded in death by his parents, daughter Brenda Radcliffe, sister Joan Whitworth and brothers-in-law Donald Floan and LaVerne Bauer.