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November 2, 1946 – September 18, 2013

The Rev. Thomas C. Knutson died this morning at 6:30 a.m.  He was pastor at First Ev. Lutheran Church, Harvey, Ill., being installed there on March 17, 1974. Visitation will be from 2 pm to 9 pm on Friday, September 27 at First Lutheran Church. The wake and worship service will be held on Saturday, September 28 at First Lutheran Church. The wake will be at 9 am and worship will begin at 9:30 am.

Pastor Knutson is survived by his spouse, the Rev Dr. Karen Knutson (a pastor in the Slovak Zion Synod, serving at St. Peter and St. Paul Lutheran Church in Blue Island, IL) and children Elizabeth, Timothy, and Paul.

The Rev. Thomas C. Knutson was ordained on February 24, 1974.  He received a Bachelor of Arts from Valparaiso University in 1969, and his Master of Divinity from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago in 1974. Pr. Knutson’s service in the ministry included:

  • Teaching Parish Pastor for The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 1974-1990
  • Member of the Illinois Synod, Lutheran Church in America Worship Committee, 1975-1982
  • Founding Member of the Triad Churches of Harvey, 1976-1983
    First Christian, First Lutheran, First United & Academy Methodist, doing VBS and other educational programs for youths and adults, and various community ministry projects
  • Chaired the Calumet Community Religious Conference, 1985-1987
    Predecessor body to the South Suburban Action Conference
  • Chaired Worship Committee, Metropolitan Chicago Synod Constituting Assembly, Sept. 1986-June 1987
  • President, South Suburban Action Conference, 1987-1990
    A coalition of Catholic, Baptist, Pentecostal, Lutheran, Methodist, Christian, AME, COGIC, and Mennonite churches
  • Member, Board of Directors, New Cities Community Development Corporation, 1989-1993
    The technical arm of SSAC for housing, home ownership, and business enterprise
  • Member, Lutheran/Roman Catholic Covenant Commission, Chicago, 1988-1996
    Covenant between the Metropolitan Chicago Synod, ELCA, and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago
  • Co-Editor, Documents of The Lutheran/Roman Catholic Covenant Commission, Chicago, 1989
  • Founding Member of the theological journal LET’S TALK, and Chair of The Editorial Council, 1995-2010.

In addition, Pr. Knutson served as Interim Pastor, Redeemer, South Holland (1987); was a Board Member of the LSSI Family Counseling Center, South Holland (1987); was a presenter at the Gamaliel Foundation training (1992) and at the Christ Temple Baptist Church retreat (1993); was a speaker at The Annettes Chorus Silver Anniversary (1994); and was the preacher at Rev. P. H. McKinney’s 31st anniversary at Christ Temple Baptist Church (1990) and at the Ascension/St. Susanna Pentecost Revival (1994). In addition to other civic honors, 149th Street & Myrtle Avenue was renamed Pastor Thomas Knutson Street on November 24, 2003, in recognition of his contributions to the spiritual, social, and economic well-being of the City of Harvey and its citizens. His name was entered on the City of Harvey’s Achiever’s Wall of Fame, February 12, 2008, for today’s and tomorrow’s youth to see how hard work and commitment can culminate in success.

Condolences may be relayed through the Synod Office, or may be sent directly to the family: