THOUSAND OAKS, CA
– John Robert (Jack) Knutson, retired fleet account executive for General Motors Fleet & Commercial Operations, passed away Jan. 9. He was 70. As a teenager, the “Big Band” sound sparked Knutson’s musical interest. He learned to play the saxophone and clarinet in high school. He graduated high school in 1954 and went on to attend Oregon State College in Corvallis, Ore., (which later became Oregon State University in 1961). According to his wife, Noreen, his secret wish was to be a stage actor, and he left school to pursue his dream in New York City. His career as an actor was short-lived and he returned to Oregon to recommence his university education. Shortly after returning, Knutson joined the Marine Corps and continued playing his favorite instruments — the clarinet and sax — in the marching band. When his father became seriously ill, Knutson was discharged from the Marines. He received the National Defense Service medal in 1957 and went on to complete his education at Oregon State College in 1959. After working for a Dodge-Plymouth dealership, Knutson joined General Motors, where he served as a fleet account executive for 42 years. He retired in February 2005 from General Motors’ Western Regional Office in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Knutson is survived by his wife, Noreen; two sons, Timothy and Joseph; his mother, Vera Betts; and a sister, Joanne Carlson. A memorial service was held in Moorpark, Calif., on Jan. 21.