Ernie Knudson, former Poulsbo City Council member, dies at 81

Ernest K. (Ernie) Knudson - Knudson family
Ernest K. (Ernie) Knudson
— image credit: Knudson family

POULSBO ­— Ernest K. (Ernie) Knudson, whose civic career included service as a Poulsbo City Council member, Chamber of Commerce president and Sons of Norway lodge manager, died July 16 at his home in Poulsbo. He was 81.

The cause of death was heart failure complicated by his long battle with Parkinson’s disease, according to his brother, Harlan.

Mr. Knudson was born in Port Gamble on Nov. 30, 1930. He attended North Kitsap High School and graduated in 1948. His first job was working with his parents and brother-in-law, Glenn Haskin, at the family Ford agency in downtown Poulsbo. Mr. Knudson’s father, George, served two terms on the City Council beginning in 1962, “in the days when the councilmen themselves had to get out and repair the streets and fix the sewer and water lines,” according to the book, “Poulsbo: Its First Hundred Years” (1986).

Mr. Knudson served in Company B, Poulsbo National Guard from 1948 to 1959, achieving the rank of master sergeant. He spent eight years with Safeco Insurance, then for several years was a partner in real estate development projects on Camano Island and in eastern Washington.

Mr. Knudson managed the Poulsbo Sons of Norway Lodge for 13 years. “With a friendly smile and a twinkle in his eye, he enjoyed greeting members and sharing local lore,” his brother wrote. “He was particularly proud of the role he played in organizing the Sons of Norway yule log ceremony held at the waterfront Kvelstad Gazebo,” which he helped build. According to “Poulsbo: Its First Hundred Years,” Mr. Knudson pounded nails during the pavilion construction.

Mr. Knudson was president of the Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce in 1980, was elected to the City Council that year (he served until 1985), and was Poulsbo Sons of Norway Lodge Man of the Year in 1985. Mr. Knudson also served as a volunteer firefighter and as a volunteer for numerous community events. He was an avid golfer, sportsman and cook. He enjoyed years of hunting and fishing with his dad and friends.

Mr. Knudson is survived by his children, Tom Knudson, of Sun Valley, Idaho; Libby Knudson, of Los Angeles; Amy Knudson, of  Seattle; and brother, Harlan Knudson, of Sequim. He was preceded in death by his parents, George and Ida Knudson; his sister, Aubyn Ann Haskin; brother, Elwyn; and long-time companion, Barbara James.

A memorial service is being planned for later in the summer. The family prefers contributions to the Poulsbo Sons of Norway Lodge 2-44, Trolls Den Chair Fund, 18891 Front St., Poulsbo, WA. 98370; or to the Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation, 400 Mercer St., No. 504, Seattle, WA 98109 or online at

Arrangements for cremation are with Lewis Funeral Chapel, Bremerton.


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