Carolyn Knutsen

February 8, 1939March 10, 2018
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Carolyn Lee Knutsen, age 79, went to be with her Heavenly Father on March 10, 2018 in Dripping Springs, Texas. Carolyn fought a brave battle with cancer for over twenty years and touched many lives along the journey.

Everyone thought Carolyn was a classy lady who never wanted to face the world without looking polished. She always had her lipstick on, make-up done, nails painted and clothes to match. She never met a stranger and had an uncanny way of remembering people’s names. She got to know all those that cared for her and Richard, wherever they went and wherever they lived, they became her extended family.

Carolyn and her twin sister Charlotte, were born on February 8, 1939. They were raised by Army Chaplain A.L. Paxson and their mother, Leona Kuntsman Paxson. As their father was a Chaplain, they lived at Army bases all over the United States including New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas. She spent her teenage years in post-war Japan and Germany. Carolyn attended Sendai American School in Japan, Stuttgart High School in Stuttgart, Germany, and the University of Maryland in Munich, Germany. She loved the English club and writing poetry. She also enjoyed singing and liked to snow ski.

She met Richard Carl Knutsen in 1960 and they married on June 17, 1962. They were married in St. Andrews Methodist Church in Palo Alto, California by her father, Chaplain A.L. Paxson.

She had one daughter, Cathy who married W. David Dougherty and two step sons, Steven and Dennis. She had five Grandchildren, Lisa, Christopher, Sara, Hudson and Abigail. She had seven Great-Grandchildren, Madison, Abigail, Wyatt, Layla, Holden, Fiona, and Thea.

Her best friend throughout her life was her twin sister, Charlotte. She had a very special friend from high school, Susan Spencer who she kept in touch with for over 70 years. Carolyn remained friends with her wedding party throughout her entire life. Her friend Jerri Rudnick introduced her and Richard to a “gang” of families, close friends, loving life since 1963. They shared their lives together for over 50 years including vacations, church, work, children and grandchildren. She considered the time spent with the “gang” to be some of the best, most memorable and sweetest times in her life. Although the “gang” all live in different areas, their bonds of friendship are forever and they will all be reunited with Carolyn in heaven!

Carolyn worked as a secretary at General Electric before she was married then spent the next 25 years working at Stanford University as a secretary for Statistics Professor, Dr. Solomon, Ph, D. In 1982 she started to work at a radio station, KNCO in Grass Valley, California. She loved working there and met just about everyone in the community including General Chuck Yeager.

After retiring she volunteered at Sierra Presbyterian church in Nevada City and loved working with the children for vacation bible school and helping in the women’s ministries.

Carolyn and Richard loved Monterey, California and watching golf on TV, even though they never played. She also loved to watch Texas Tech and Texas A&M college football games, because those were her grandchildren’s schools. She took great pride in Hudson and the Goin’ Band from Raiderland, occasionally seeing him in the stands on TV. Carolyn traveled extensively in Europe as a teen with her family and kept extensive scrap books of her time overseas.

Carolyn was preceded in death by her father Alexander Paxson, mother Leona Paxson, twin sister, Charlotte Burris. She is survived by her husband of fifty-six years, Richard Knutsen; daughter Catherine Dougherty; four half siblings, Anne Clark, Michael Paxson, Sandra Bitner and Robert Paxson.

Carolyn’s family would like to thank the staff, nurses, and aides of Ledgestone Assisted Living, Hospice Austin Christopher House, and Hill Country Care Skilled Nursing Facility, especially Jamie Wilson with Hospice Austin for all the love and care she provided my mom in her final days.

A Celebration of Carolyn’s Life will be held at Bethany Lutheran in Austin, Texas on Saturday, March 24, 2018 at 11:00 am. She will be laid to rest at a future date in Nevada City, California. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Carolyn's name may be directed to Hospice Austin’s Christopher House at


  • Richard Carl Knutsen, Husband
  • Army Chaplain A.L. Paxson, Father
  • Leona Kuntsman Paxson, Mother
  • Charlotte Burris, Sister
  • Catherine Dougherty, Daughter
  • W. David Dougherty, Son-in-law
  • She had four half siblings, Anne Clark, Michael Paxson, Sandra Bitner and Robert Paxson, two stepsons, Steven and Dennis. She had five Grandchildren, Lisa, Christopher, Sara, Hudson and Abigail. She had seven Great-Grandchildren, Madison, Abigail, Wyatt, Layla, Holden, Fiona, and Thea.


24 March

Celebration of Life

11:00 a.m.

Bethany Lutheran Church

3701 W. Slaugher Lane
Austin, Texas 78749


Carolyn Knutsen

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Diana Gerkensmeyer

March 23, 2018

It’s amazing and beautiful how one person can touch so many lives in positive ways. Carolyn was one of those special people that you instantly felt “connected” with in a loving way. Her smile and attitude was always welcoming and felt. She has been my Mom’s best friend and over and over I have come to realize why. She will be missed dearly here on this earth but she has been openly and joyously received in Heaven. We love you and thank you for being in our lives. Our deepest sympathy to her lovely family. May God comfort you and show you His wonderous Love.

Lisa Tewell

March 23, 2018

Carolyn was such a joy to be around and her smile was infectious. She is now with the heavenly father, no longer in pain but celebrating. Her beautiful presence will never escape my memories and I am blessed to have spent the little time with her that I had.
Carolyn was one classy lady.

Lord be with the family of Carolyn now as you have always been. Give them the peace and love that only you can provide. Lord keep Richard in your arms and fill his days with meaning and comfort him in his loss of a life companion and partner.

Love to you my dear friend Cathy. Thank you for sharing your mother with me.

Kara Taylor

March 22, 2018

Carolyn was always so spiffy. She had modern clothing, wore a bikini, was so tan, wore a beehive hairdo, & large hoop earrings. At Lake Almanor in 1973, when we were there for our annual Gang waterski trip (I was just a kid in 1973!), she let me wear her very cool sandals & we attempted to fix my hair into a makeshift beehive (that didnt go well). She has been a fixture in my life since birth (Cathy & I are lifelong friends!), & I haven’t known life without her. She will be missed on earth but is having an amazing time in heaven!!
Kara Taylor

Tamiko Woods

March 19, 2018

May the God of Comfort bring your family peace during this difficult time

Mary Anne Davis

March 19, 2018

I am heartbroken to learn of Carolyn's passing. I loved her like a second mother. When she moved to Texas she never let me know her new contact information, so I never had a chance to stay connected. Richard and family, I am so sorry for your loss, and please let me know when the Nevada City memorial is planned. (530-263-0420). She was such a beautiful soul.

Jim and Natella Wittliff

March 17, 2018

Carolyn was a joyful, funny and appreciative person, who we had the pleasure of sharing several Thanksgiving meals and other occasions with. When we visited her recently during her Hospice care, she gushed over the Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies we brought, and proclaimed the day to be her "best day ever." Even during the pain and travails of a terminal illness, she simply drank in the sunshine and praised the birds during our brief trip outside. She had a knack for taking care of others, even in the depths of her painful illness. We shall miss her rare breed of grace and class.

Angela and Michael Stewart

March 17, 2018

Mike and I will never be able to thank Carolyn enough for her loving and kind friendship. We often shared birthdays (we were born a day apart) and holidays together-I will always cherish those memories. Carolyn did not go " gently into that good night." Her strength and courage in her fight with cancer was amazing; it was a true reflection of the a human spirit and was an inspiration to us all. We think about Carolyn often, and pray for her family and loved ones.

Mike and Angela

Jerri Rudnick

March 16, 2018

So many wonderful memories of my dear friend. We were like family for so many years. I first met Carolyn when we both worked at Stanford University. We were adults when we met but still we kinda grew up together; lots of dinners, laughter and tears. We both adopted our daughters at about the same time so we had babies together. Our families grew up together with other dear friends and we were all close; raising children, water skiing and, sharing meals and fun times. Carolyn was and is a beautiful godly woman. Her faith sustained her through some difficult times. When her twin sister died she trusted her heavenly Father as she has done throughout her life and especially in these last difficult days. Carolyn loved people…her dear husband Richard, her family and her extended family. She will be missed; until we meet again. Jerri

Julia Bradley

March 14, 2018

We will always remember Carolyn by her sweet compassionate spirit and her caring hugs and beautiful smile. She cared about people.
We cared about her; we loved her.

I will always remember when as married couples we all went to Chedders for lunch. Carolyn loved to eat out. After we ordered I gave Carolyn a greeting card & a new tube of lipstick with the color called "Fearless Fuscia....!"
She was so delighted with joy over the color and name of that lipstick .
I told her that "fearless" described her & we all had a good laugh there in the booth at Cheddars with Carolyn & I putting on lipstick like silly girls!

Most importantly, Carolyn's Christian unshakable faith in our merciful almighty God & Holy Spirit is what inspired me most! She loved our good Lord.

Our deepest sympathies to Carolyn's husband Richard and to her daughter Cathy and all of her family and friends.

Rest in peace faithful servant of Jesus Christ.

Julia Bradley & B.A.
Austin Tx

Jessica Vasquez

March 13, 2018

There is no one we enjoyed more than Carolyn. She shared wonderful hugs every time she came in to our office. She knew us all by name and she could text emoji's like no other. I always thought it was so cute that she would text our office randomly and send every emoji in her phone. She would be upset if she had to change an appointment and always felt so bad. The truth is we were the ones who were sad because we did not get to chat with her.

I will always regret not going to see her before her passing but I know Carolyn would understand. Your smile lit up a room and we will miss you so much!

Love always,
Your Hedgecock Dental Family