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Dean DeWayne Knudsen

July 9, 1932 - October 19, 2022

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Dean DeWayne Knudsen, 90, a longtime resident of West Lafayette, passed away peacefully on
October 19, 2022. He is survived by his daughter, Karen Knudsen and granddaughter Nina Bell
of Elmhurst, IL, and son, Stephen Knudsen, wife Anne, and grandchildren Cassie, Michael and
Mary of Indianapolis. Also surviving are numerous nieces and nephews. Dean was married for
more than 65 years to R. “Lucille” Knudsen who preceded him in death earlier this year.
Born to Arthur and Nina Knudsen in rural Shelby County Iowa on July 9th, 1932, Dean attended
one room schools for his elementary education, graduated from Harlan High School and received
a BA from University of Sioux Falls in 1954. He married Lucille (Dalton) following her
graduation from Sioux Falls in 1956 while attending Berkeley Baptist Divinity School (now
Berkeley School of Theology) in California. Upon completion of Dean’s Bachelors of Divinity
degree from Berkeley in 1957, the couple moved to Minneapolis-St. Paul where Dean served as
American Baptist campus pastor at the University of Minnesota and taught at Augsburg College
while completing an MA degree in Sociology at U of MN.
He and Lucille moved from Minneapolis to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where
Dean received his PhD in Sociology in 1964. Having their daughter, Karen, while in North
Carolina, the family then moved to Columbus, OH where Dean joined the faculty at the Ohio State
University. Son, Steve, joined the family in 1965 and in 1969 the family moved to West Lafayette,
IN where Dean was a member of the Purdue faculty for more than 35 years including serving as
Head of the Sociology and Anthropology Department for six years before retiring in 2004.
During his academic career, Dean was a member of several professional associations and served
as an officer and program chair at the national and regional levels. He authored and coauthored
several research monographs and books, as well as numerous articles and book reviews in
professional journals. In addition, he served on the HSSE (now Liberal Arts Senate) and the
University Senate, chairing various committees in each senate, was a member and officer of the
AAUP (American Association of University Professors) and was a Faculty Fellow at Meredith
Hall for over a decade. At his retirement, his former students created the Dean Knudsen
Dissertation Research Award in recognition of his devotion to graduate education and his untiring
support of his students in Sociology.
Beyond the university, Dean was active in local organizations, serving as the first coordinator for
a voluntary child protection group that evolved into the “Guardians-ad-Litem” program and later
into the Court Appointed Special Advocate program (CASA) which continues serving children in
need today. He also served on several local, state and regional committees concerned with child
abuse and neglect. He was President of the Greater Lafayette Community Centers Board (now
Bauer Family Resources), President of the Bach Chorale Singers Board (now Lafayette Master
Chorale), member of the Board of Directors of the United Way, participated as an instructor in the
Greater Lafayette Leadership Academy, and was a member of the Community Health Advisory
Board prior to the development of the Riggs Community Health Center network.
Above all, Dean was a loving and supportive father, grandfather, husband and friend and will be
greatly missed. A Celebration of Life service is planned for 10:30amET on Saturday, November
12, 2022 at First Baptist Church in Lafayette, IN. The service will be live streamed for those
unable to attend at: https://youtu.be/j4vOCKI_Tqw
In lieu of flowers, we ask that you consider making a donation in Dean’s memory to one of the
organizations that was important to him:
Lafayette Urban Ministry at www.lumserve.org/donate/
Riggs Community Health Center at 765/429-2776 or hjackson@riggshealth.com

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