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Alumni Happenings - August 2006
Grand County High School

 

David and Merrie Knutson, GCHS Alumni
by Jeff Richards

Exactly when Grand County High alumnus David Knutson (Class of 1976) first asked out his future wife Merrie Stewart (GCHS Class of 1979) has long been a point of good-natured debate between the couple, who celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary this month.

Knutson Family
In this November 2004 photo, David and Merrie Knutson (seated) are surrounded by their five sons and daughter-in-law Jaicee.
David claims he once asked her out while she was inside the old A&W drive-in, but that she declined his invitation. “I just walked in there and asked, ‘Who wants to go bowling with me? Do you want to go bowling?’” he said, indicating that he was pointing at Merrie at the time. “But she said she couldn’t because she had to work.”

Merrie says that she remembers no such conversation, and admits she had little or no interest in David until she was in college. “In high school, if anyone had told me that I’d end up marrying him, I’d have laughed in their face,” recalled Merrie with a chuckle.

Fast forward a few years past high school. Shortly after David returned from a two-year LDS mission to Norway in February of 1980, Merrie came back to Moab for the summer after spending a year at Ricks College in Idaho. It was then that their courtship began. “We mainly got together as part of church group activities and dances,” Merrie said, adding that after the summer was over she returned to Idaho for another year at Ricks, earning her associates degree in child care specialization.

Merrie StewartMeantime, David remained in Moab working with his dad while Merrie was in Idaho for another year, but their relationship grew stronger, despite the long physical distance between them. The following summer, on August 14, 1981, David and Merrie were married in Manti. They have since lived for the past 25 years on Knutson Corner in the southeast portion of Moab. “We’ve lived in different trailers, and we’ve upgraded over the years, but we’ve always been right here in the same spot,” Merrie noted.

Both David and Merrie are both proud fifth-generation Moabites, and their respective parents (Ollie and Roberta Knutson and Jack and Shirley Stewart) all still live in Moab. All of David’s and Merrie’s siblings also attended Grand County High.

David and Merrie are the proud parents of five sons, the oldest four of whom have graduated from GCHS.
Oldest son Jordan (Class of 2000) and his wife Jaicee live in Logan, where they are both attending Utah State University. The couple also spent one semester studying in Russia (where Jordan had earlier served an LDS mission).

David KnutsonSecond son McLain (Class of 2002) and his wife Sheri were married earlier this year. After spending the summer in Moab, they plan to move to Logan this fall to attend USU (Sheri has a year left in elementary education, while McLain plans to pursue a degree in computer science). McLain previously served an LDS mission in Arkansas.

Third son Trevor (Class of 2004) is a member of the Utah Army National Guard reserves, assigned to the 786th Quartermaster Company, Petroleum Supply, based in Provo. He is currently serving an LDS mission in Donetsk, Ukraine, and will return home in December, 2006. After that, he plans to attend college while fulfilling his military obligations and training.

Fourth son Brennan (Class of 2006) plans to pursue a degree in communications at Southern Utah University in Cedar City, where he received a four-year full-tuition scholarship through the Governor’s Honors Academy. He also plans to serve an LDS mission after turning 19 next spring.

Last but not least, youngest son Reyce, 9, will soon enter the 5th grade at Helen M. Knight Intermediate School.

“We’re glad that we still have Reyce in the school system,” commented Merrie. “We’re not quite ready to be ‘empty nesters.’”

But they are getting ready to become grandparents, she added quickly, noting that Jaicee and Jordan are expecting their first child in January.

David and Merrie have long been fixtures at various GCHS activities over the years, and enjoy attending everything from football and basketball games to school plays and dances.

“Neither of us played sports in high school,” noted Merrie. “But we both loved drama and music, and I was on the drill team.” David remembers portraying the king in the play “The King and I,” a role for which Debbie Dalton shaved his head. “Believe it or not, I actually once had hair up there,” said the now follicly challenged David.

Their love for music and dancing has led them to volunteer choreographing and teaching the promenade dance to the GCHS junior class for each spring’s Junior Prom for 13 of the past 17 years. “We really enjoy working with the kids and teaching them the dance,” said Merrie, adding, “Junior prom is one of the few remaining traditions where virtually the whole community comes to watch and participate.”

The Knutsons own and operate the Knut & Sons family business, one of the longest continually operating businesses in the Moab area. Their diverse work includes construction, demolition, water supply, heavy equipment, movie and commercial production support, pilot car services, and related support services for major events such as the 24 Hours of Moab bicycle race. David also served six years on the Grand County Commission, and continues to be involved in various community activities.

Merrie taught preschool for awhile and currently serves as a substitute teacher for Grand County School District. She also has been involved in numerous school and community organizations and activities over the years. She and David are both avid Scout leaders, and their four oldest sons are all Eagle Scouts.

Both David and Merrie cited several GCHS teachers as being a positive influence on their lives, including Jim Walker, Ray Olsen, Donna Brownell, and Val Maughan, just to name a few.

The Knutsons say they hope their children have been instilled with a love for learning that will continue for generations to come.

“Moab has been a great place for us to raise our family, and I’m glad our boys have had so many opportunities to participate and excel,” added David.
 
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