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Bess Knott 01/03/2019

Bess Knott 01/03/2019

Her journey to everlasting life is now completed, Bess Knott passed away peacefully January 3, 2019.  One little dash between two dates but so much living……..103 ½ years, 10 decades, and memories to fill 70 diaries.  Born in Barron, Wisconsin on May 9, 1915 to Eilert and Mayme Melgard. In 1920 they moved to River Falls where her father started the Melgard Monument Company on main street. Bess graduated from high school in 1934 and went to the university for one year. Her father needed her help in the business, so she quit school and worked full time at the business. Bess met Harry Knott at a dance in 1935 and after a courtship of two years they married. Harry became a salesman at Melgard Monument and when Bess’s father died suddenly from a heart attack in 1940, they bought the business from her step-mother Della Melgard and they ran it for the next 65 years with the help of their son, David, and grandson, Korey. They moved to their current location on Hwy 65 in 1973. Unfortunately, Harry passed in 2009 and David passed in 2010. Korey is the fifth generation in the family business that was started by Bess’s grandfather in Cashton, WI in 1888.  Bess had many challenges in her long life. She learned to walk on crutches after a fall out of bed when she was 3 years old. Her mother died suddenly due to a burst appendix when she was 12 years old. Her dad passed away when she was 25. Bess had cancer 34 years ago, plus losing her husband, son, sisters, and many friends. But Bess handled it all with grace and dignity. She had a quiet, strong faith that was amazing.  Bess was an active member of Ezekiel Lutheran Church most of her life. An Eastern Star member and very active in the local St. Croix Valley Shrine Club. Harry was a charter member when the club was started back in 1965….They both treasured those Shrine memories and friends.  When River Falls had their own airport, Bess and Harry owned their own plane and enjoyed flying for business and pleasure for 23 years…they flew to Mexico and Florida with River Falls friends and visited Cuba before it was closed to the USA.  Bess and Harry built the little blue house on Division Street and it was one of the first to be built in that area. They could look up at the mound and see no houses…they loved that little house and they watched the neighborhood grow around them. Bess always had fun when the sisters, and niece, Marlene, got together there to play pool or cards. They would laugh at the silliest things until the tears rolled down their cheeks. They lovingly became known to the family as the “Helgard girls”.  Harry and Bess spent the last years of their lives together moving to Wellhaven. With the loss of Harry, Bess continued her love of playing cards, rummikub, and 500. She was a shrewd and lucky player. She enjoyed time with friends, and her energy and quick wit entertained us all.  Bess was a professional woman before her time, and she was a hard worker and knew how to get things done….Bess also enjoyed this time of her life although she was ‘always busy’.  Bess was preceded in death by her husband, Harry, son, David, sisters, Juanita (Leo) Farrell, Velva (Fordyce) Nelson, brother-in-law, Gordon (Marie) Knott, family and friends.  Bess is survived by her daughter-in-law, Kathy Knott, grandsons, Kevin and Korey (Shauna) Knott, great-grandchildren, Zoey and Garrett Knott, nieces, Marlene Nelson, Judith (Jim) Jorgenson, and Gloria Knott. Nephews, Larry (Annell) Nelson, Lynn (Patti) Nelson, Pat (Joanne) Farrell, Jerry Knott, grand nieces, grand nephews, and friends.  Bess filled the dashes between 1915 and 2019 with hard work, laughter, generosity, faith, and memories that will live on forever. Rest in peace, dear lady.  The family requests memorials to the Shrine Hospital, Ezekiel Lutheran Church, Wellhaven, or your choice.   A Funeral Service was held on Tuesday, January 8, 2019 at 11 am at Ezekiel Lutheran Church 202 S 2nd Street River Falls, WI.  Visitation was held on Monday, January 7, 2019 from 4-7 pm with The Order of the Eastern Star service at 4pm at Ezekiel Lutheran Church and on Tuesday from 10-11 am at the church.  Interment was in Greenwood Cemetery in River Falls.  Arrangements are with Bakken-Young Funeral & Cremation Services.


  • Jeanne Salmon Posted January 6, 2019 1:35 am

    Bess was my husband (deceased) BobSalmon’s 1st cousin. I met Bess at a Melgard family reunion years ago. My family lives in New England so we stayed in touch via Christmas and Birthday cards mainly, and Bess told me tales about the family and sad news when they passed on. Then came our computers and e-mail, so we had our up to the minute news and Bess always had a joke for me. She loved her home and friends and card and board games. I will pass this story of her years to my family and we all are happy and grateful for her long and happy life.

  • Lois Cernohous Posted January 6, 2019 6:51 pm

    I always enjoyed visiting with she and Harry when they’d come in to dine at the West Wind. Such a neat couple. I truly admired her. She lived a wonderful life.

  • Richard Schwenk Posted January 6, 2019 8:00 pm

    Bess and Harry are very much missed but I like to picture them together now with the Lord in eternity. They are very much appreciated for their help in preservation of the German Settlement Cemetery Association where many of the Knott family were buried. They also helped in founding the Hudson German Settlement Heritage Society.

  • Donna Farrell Posted January 8, 2019 12:07 am

    Whoever wrote the obituary did an especially competent piece of writing.
    Bess was a lovely person whom I always enjoyed. She was my husband”s aunt and we visited, when he was living, from time to time.
    I recall one evening when we were playing cards, she looked down and said “my you have such pretty feet.” It was the first and last time anyone has complimented me on my feet!

  • Judy Mayer Knight Posted January 9, 2019 6:35 pm

    Bess and Harry were dear friends of my parents since their youth and our families spent many happy times together. I last saw Bess 5 years ago and was amazed at her vitality. What an amazing woman! She will be missed by all who knew her.

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