KNUDSEN, Ellen (Stoltenberg)

Friday, April 12, 2013


Ellen Stoltenberg Knudsen passed away in Orem, Utah, on March 15, 2013, surrounded by her adoring family. Ellen was born on a farm outside Lone Wolf, Oklahoma, on July 8, 1925, to Richard Heinrich Stoltenberg, a German immigrant, and Grace Talbot, a school teacher who instilled a love of good books. Ellen earned a degree in English from Oklahoma College for Women and then moved to Utah, where her sister, Marian Wright, introduced her to a strapping young dairy farmer, Albert Andrew Knudsen, at the milk parlor of the Knudsens' Lake Front Jersey Farm on the lower Provo River. They married on January 18, 1947, and their union was later solemnized in the Manti Temple. Dairy life was hard. While Albert ran the dairy operation, Ellen kept a one-acre vegetable garden, cooked for family and crew, canned, sewed, and raised their four children. But she didn't just cook; she created recipes for simple food done to perfection (her southern fried chicken, Knudsen dip, and burnt almond fudge ice cream were famous). She didn't just sew; she tailored beautiful outfits (plaids always matched!). She shared her talents for many years with girls in her 4-H Club in Provo.


For needed recreation, she starred in bowling leagues, maintaining a 180 average. Sale of the farm brought moves to Orem and then Elk Ridge, with an LDS mission to North Carolina in 1987-88, where Ellen's greatest joy was in teaching illiterate folks to read. In later years, she took up swimming (often a mile a day), quilting, and then painting. Her oils-portraits, wildlife, and especially Utah landscapes-grace the homes and offices of family and friends who are in awe of this new talent. Following Albert's death in 1997, Ellen blossomed. She always had a project. She delighted in good books and discussing them with her book club and her grandchildren. She wrote histories and letters that displayed keen observation and a wry sense of humor.


Wherever she lived (the last decade in Pleasant Grove), she cultivated close and lasting friendships. She took great pride in her children, Craig (Dennie), Rock Springs, Karla (Bill), Sandy, Clare (Cindy), Pleasant Grove, and Clark (Kathy), Lehi, and especially in her 17 grandchildren and 39 great-grandchildren. Funeral Services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at the Pleasant Grove 9th Ward Chapel, 455 East 200 South, Pleasant Grove, Utah.


Friends may call at the Berg Mortuary of Provo, 185 East Center Street, Tuesday evening from 6 until 8 and at the church Wednesday from 9:30-10:45 a.m. prior to services. Interment will be in the Provo City Cemetery. Condolences may be emailed to