During an especially restless night after the loss of her husband, Ken Knutson, Sandy Knutson came upon the idea of having the pallbearers usher her husband’s urn into the church while wearing Mortenson hard hats. For over 30 years, Ken had worked for M.A. Mortenson Co., a local construction company well-known for taking on major projects, including, most recently, U.S. Bank Stadium — the future home of the Minnesota Vikings.
Before his retirement roughly 15 years ago, Knutson served as a superintendent for major projects including work at the Children’s Theater, Mt. Sinai Hospital, and the Wells Fargo Center in Minneapolis. According to Sandy, Ken’s wife of 56 years, the superintendent oversees the entire job and the subcontractors, making sure everything stays on time.
Ken’s commitment to his work and to Mortenson did not go unnoticed. After Sandy’s son Greg made the call to the company requesting the hats, Mortenson had them delivered within an hour.
Ken’s ashes were appropriately inurned in a black Stack-On toolbox, and on September 23, 2015, Ken’s funeral mass was held at St. Mary of the Lake Catholic Church in White Bear Lake.
Using Mueller’s custom urn carrier, his five grandsons were allowed the great honor of acting as his pallbearers. Michael Krohn, Ryan Bruns, Sean Bruns, Kenny Knutson, and Christopher Knutson ushered their grandpa’s urn into the church, all wearing a version of the Mortenson hardhat that Ken had donned for so many years.
When Sandy spoke to Mortenson Company Chairman Emeritus, M.A. “Mort” Mortenson Jr., he let her know that he got “teary eyed” when he saw the young men with the hard hats on.
In a time when people and companies so infrequently create long-term relationships, Mortenson Co.’s investment in Ken Knutson was apparent through their support of Sandy’s idea and lending their name to Ken’s personal and meaningful memorial. The Knutson Family saw the company for which Ken had worked as such an impressive part of his personality that it played an important role in memorializing him that day.