Cover photo for Marti "Umma" Knutson's Obituary
Marti "Umma" Knutson Profile Photo
1951 Marti "Umma" 2024

Marti "Umma" Knutson

January 29, 1951 — March 1, 2024

With deep sadness and heavy hearts, we announce the passing of Marti Knutson, who departed from this world on Friday, March 1, 2024. Marti was a beloved wife, mother, sister, and friend to many, leaving behind a legacy of love and cherished memories.

Born on January 29, 1951, in the midst of a bitter cold winter day in Taylor, ND, Marti entered the world with a warmth that would touch the lives of everyone she encountered. Marti's father, Ervin Stoxen, passed away just days shy of her first birthday. Leaving her mom, Gladys, to raise four children on her own. Despite the challenges, Marti grew up with resilience and grace.

As she journeyed through life, Marti embraced every opportunity with enthusiasm and an unwavering spirit. On her mom’s birthday in 1959, the family moved to Bismarck, where her oldest sister, Georgia, already resided. Although she lived in Bismarck the rest of her life, she still called Taylor her hometown.

Her educational path led her through Roosevelt and Will-Moore grade schools, Hughes and Simle Junior High schools, and graduated from Bismarck High School in May of 1969. Later in her 50s, she went back to Bismarck State College and earned her Associates Degree. She gathered numerous friends along the way and maintained many of those connections throughout her lifetime. It was during this time that Marti found her lifelong partner, Gary Knutson, whom she married on December 27, 1969, at McCabe United Methodist Church. 

Together, Marti and Gary built a beautiful life filled with love and laughter. They raised two wonderful daughters, JoDean and Billi Jo, who brought immeasurable joy into their lives. Marti was a devoted mother, always there to support her girls through every milestone and triumph.

Throughout her career, Marti touched the lives of many in the Bismarck community. From her various roles at Dayton’s, Fed-Ex, UPS, and Ben Franklin, to her cherished position at North Dan’s Super Value in the Post Office, Marti made an impact wherever she went. 

However, it was her role at McCabe UMC that truly defined her legacy. For over 30 years, Marti dedicated herself to working with both youth and adult handbell choirs. Drawing from her natural talent and passion, she tirelessly searched for music to accommodate any and every combination of choir size and abilities, embracing her own talents rather than relying on formal training. She left a lasting mark on the hearts of all who had the privilege of making music alongside her.  

Beyond her professional endeavors, Marti found joy in the simple pleasures of life. She cherished camping trips at the Downstream Campground north of Riverdale with Gary, their girls (& their friends), and her mom, Gladys, and Sarge. She also had a passion for motorcycle riding, sharing countless “Ride to Eat” adventures with Gary on his Harley and Marti on “Ursula” her purple and white Honda Shadow.

In her later years, Marti found immense pride and joy in her role as “Umma.” Her grandchildren, Noah, Anna, Tyberius, Kyrabella, Xavier, and Orion, were the light of her life, and she treasured every moment spent with them. Marti spent many hours making sugar toast, playing Nibs, reading in her “Book Club,” attending their concerts, award ceremonies, sports activities, church celebrations, and graduation from Basic Training. She was their biggest cheerleader. 

Marti’s memory will forever live on in the hearts of those who knew and loved her. Her kindness, generosity, and unwavering love will be deeply missed but never forgotten.

In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that donations be made to Central Dakota Humane Society in Mandan or Marti Knutson Handbell Fund at McCabe UMC in Marti’s honor.

Marti’s loved ones include her loving husband, Gary; their grown-up trouble-makers, JoDean “JoDe” (Mark Person) Knutson-Person and Billi Jo (Doug) Plante; blessed with six wonderful grandkids, Noah and Anna Person, and Tyberius, Kyrabella, Xavier, and Orion Plante; their faithful companion, Mary; beloved siblings Georgia Kingsbury, Kenneth Stoxen, and Sylvia Stoxen. She will be greeted in Heaven by her mom, Gladys, and her dad, Ervin; and their rescued dogs, Murphy Beige and Maxwell “Max” Jackson; and many lifelong friends and family.

May her spirit forever shine brightly in our hearts and the impact of her love and kindness be felt forever.

Join us in honoring her remarkable life with a visitation on Friday, March 15th at 6pm, followed by a Prayer Service at 7pm at Parkway Funeral Service, 2330 Tyler Parkway, Bismarck. 

A Celebration of Marti’s life will take place on Saturday, March 16th at 11am at McCabe United Methodist Church, 1030 N 6th St, Bismarck. 

In lieu of flowers memorials may be given in Marti’s name to the Central Dakota Humane Society, 2104 37th St, Mandan, ND.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Marti "Umma" Knutson, please visit our flower store.
Marti Knutson Bulletin.pdf

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, March 15, 2024

6:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Parkway Funeral and Cremation Service

2330 Tyler Parkway, Bismarck, ND 58503

A prayer service will begin at 7:00 PM.

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Memorial Service

Saturday, March 16, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

McCabe United Methodist Church

1030 N 6th St, Bismarck, ND 58501

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Saturday, March 16, 2024

Almont Cemetery

Almont, ND 58520

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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