Jay Knutson, 51, of Portal, died Wednesday, March 12, 2014, at Sanford Hospital in Bismarck.
Jay Dee Knutson was born in Kenmare on May 28, 1962, to Terry R. and Marie L. (Krause) Knutson. He began his education in Bellingham, Wash., before returning to Northgate with his family and attending school in Bowbells. He worked for Portal Service Co. of Lignite in 1979. As a young adult he worked as an offshore seismographer in Louisiana, which began his penchant for Cajun cuisine. He also worked on drilling rigs, traveling as far as Railroad Valley, Nev.
Jay was known for his radiant smile that could pierce the darkest of days and laughter that brought indescribable joy to those around him. He possessed an incredible gift of selflessness that he shared with anyone and everyone possible. Thinking of others well before he was concerned with his own needs seemed to come naturally to him. If you needed anything, he would be there.
Jay met Monica Bjergaard and in 1985 they began a relationship that would span nearly 30 years. On June 15, 1997, they were united in marriage in Bowbells. They made their home in Portal, where Jay worked as an auto mechanic at Knutson Auto Repair until 1999. Jay and Monica shared a love that most can only hope to experience in their lifetime. The respect they had for one another, combined with kindness, friendship, honesty, and a little bit of razzing now and then, made them an exemplary pair.
On March 26, 1999, they welcomed their only child, Jayson Dee. The anticipation of his arrival was a source of joy that could only be surpassed by his birth. From that moment, the world would never see a father more in love with his son, and their feelings were mutual. They were each other's heroes. Jay and Jayson were the utmost example of best friends and did nearly everything together. They shared a love of cars and especially enjoyed anything to do with buying, fixing, and trading them. Every day was an adventure for this dynamic duo.
He thoroughly enjoyed collecting treasures that could "be worth something someday" and was always happy to show off his finds. Jay reserved a special relationship with his nieces and nephews, and especially enjoyed getting smiles out of his infant great-nephew and namesake, Kellyn Jay.
Jay is survived by: his wife of 16 years, Monica, and son, Jayson, Portal; siblings, Traver (Mary Sue) Knutson, of Minot, Gerry (Marsha) Knutson and Teresa (Jay) Hass, of Bowbells, and DelRee (Tom) Rasmusson, of Kenmare, Kermit (Deanna) Knutson, of Bowbells; mother-in-law, Mary Bjergaard, Flaxton; sister-in-law, Lisa Knutson, Lignite; brothers-in-law, Marcus Bjergaard, Bowbells, and Marty (Lisa) Bjergaard, Mandan; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles, great-nephews, and great-nieces.
Jay was preceded in death by his parents; maternal grandparents, John and Ella Krause; paternal grandparents, Ted and Inga Knutson; brother, Steve Knutson; and father-in-law, Milton Bjergaard.
Funeral service: Monday, March 17, 2014, at 11 a.m., at Christ Lutheran Church, Lignite.
Burial: In the spring at Flaxton Cemetery, Flaxton.
Visitation: Monday, one hour prior to the service, at Christ Lutheran Church, Lignite.
Those wishing to sign the online register and share memories may access the online obituaries section at (www.thompsonlarson.com).