Posted: October 30th, 2021


DAVID KNELSEN, husband, father, “Opa,” brother, mentor, and friend, went to be with his Savior and Lord on Wednesday, October 27, 2021 at the Chinook Regional Hospital.

Born in Blumenfeldt, Ukraine on November 28, 1940, Dave and his family fled communism and were refugees in Germany following World War II. In 1949, Dave and his parents and siblings were sponsored to come to Canada. They traveled by ship from Germany to Halifax, and then to Rosemary, Alberta. The family worked off the debt of their sponsorship and then moved to Coaldale in 1952.

Dave was the oldest of 10 children and attended school and later the Mennonite Bible School in Coaldale. He worked various manual labor jobs in gravel pits and construction. In 1959, Dave and his parents were able to purchase an initial 80-acre farm in Coaldale. Dave and Louise (Schmidt) were married on November 23, 1963.

Dave and Louise made their home on a second farm (without indoor plumbing), and began their family with twin boys in 1964 (James and Edward). Two more sons joined the family in 1967 (Mark) and 1969 (Clifford). As Dave’s brothers became of age, the family worked together to expand the farm operation. The Knelsen Farm Partnership grew and diversified, to include a feedlot and finally a dairy which was sold in 1997. He retired active farming in 2002 and sold in 2005; they then moved to their current home in Lethbridge.

Throughout the 1970’s, the Knelsen Family Gospel Band bus could be seen touring rural Alberta and Saskatchewan towns. Dave and Louise loved to serve on short-term missions and traveled to Uganda, the Philippines, Zambia, and Mexico. They have continued to support missions around the world, including the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) and other Christian organizations. As a man of unshakeable faith and integrity, Dave served in his churches in various roles and spoke of God’s unconditional love constantly with every person he met.

Dave’s family brought incredible joy to his life. He is survived by his wife, Louise; his four sons, James (Rita), Ed, Mark (Kim), Cliff (Polly); and grandchildren: Steven (Aidan), Jeff (Lana), Kylee (Cody), Miriah (Robert), Sydney (Nick), Tyson (Jasmine), Jordana, Tianna (Nick), Kyle, Matthew, Rachel, and Naomi; and 11 great grandchildren. Dave is also survived by 7 siblings: Henry (Linda), Maria (Lorne) Fisher, Barny (Helgrid), Anna Kate (Colin) Solbak, Helene (Don) Waugh, Ben (Carol), and Harry (Deborah). He is predeceased by his parents, David and Maria, and two siblings, Elizabeth and Pete.

To those who knew and loved him, Dave was unwavering in his love for his Creator, family, and passionate about music, farming, and learning. The family would like to say thank you to Chinook Regional Hospital ICU staff for their incredible care and generous kindness. A memorial service will be held at a later date yet to be determined.

In lieu of flowers, the family has set up a memorial account in honor of Dave at:

– Mennonite Central Committee in person or by check to 1117-2A Avenue Lethbridge T1H 0E6

– Lethbridge Soup Kitchen by etransfer to; or by check to 802-2A Avenue

Lethbridge T1H 0C9

– Streets Alive Mission at Donations | Streets Alive Mission


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