Nov 20, 1941 — March 9, 2021
Carolyn Jean (Thomassen) Knapp, of Astoria, loving sister, wife, mother and grandmother, passed away peacefully at home on March 9, 2021, surrounded by her family.
The oldest of three children of Bjarne and Margaret (Rasmussen) Thomassen, Carolyn was born shortly after Thanksgiving Day dinner on Nov. 20, 1941, in Port Angeles, Washington. It would be the only time in her 79 years that she would get to celebrate her birthday on Thanksgiving Day.
In 1950, her father took a job building the Astoria Plywood Mill, which moved the family of five to Astoria. Carolyn attended school in Astoria, and graduated from Astoria High School in 1960.
She went on to attend Pacific Lutheran University for one year, until she met her future husband, while home on summer break. Carolyn married Lowell G. Knapp on Dec. 2, 1961, in Astoria; they celebrated 59 years of marriage this past December.
In 1964, the couple settled in the John Day area, building their forever home along the waterfront in Fernhill, shortly after their first son’s birth. The family expanded later to five, with the birth of two daughters. Later in life, Carolyn and Lowell adopted their oldest granddaughter, Cari, whom they raised from the time she was four months old until she went off to college.
It was important to Carolyn to pass family traditions and her heritage onto her family. One way that she did this was through cooking, baking and Christmas ornament making.
Unfortunately, her love of cooked cabbage was not one that her family inherited. However, it did make a lasting impression on her older grandchildren, who still remember the stinky smells that would sometimes come from grandma’s kitchen.
Carolyn also enjoyed sewing, knitting, and needlepoint, as well as scrap-booking.
Carolyn will be remembered for all of her volunteer activities in our community. She was very proud of her Norwegian and Danish heritage, and worked with her dear friend, Bonnie Ladd, over the years, helping teach many, many young people Scandinavian dance.
Carolyn also danced in the adult group with her husband, Lowell. She was a very active member of the Astoria Scandinavian Midsummer Festival and the Lower Columbia Danish Society. She developed many special friendships from all of these activities.
Over the years, Carolyn also taught Sunday school at church, and served as a 4-H leader, and was a Start Making A Reader Today reader in local schools, a cruise ship host, a Court Appointed Special Advocate program volunteer and much more.
After her children started school, Carolyn began working at Astoria High School. She has helped many students through their high school years, and kept in touch with many of “her kids.” She also worked for a short time at Peter Pan Market, and enjoyed visiting with the neighborhood people.
Carolyn developed many dear friendships throughout her lifetime, but perhaps the one she treasured most was the one she shared with her best friend, Becky Nelson. She and Becky were truly sisters at heart, having both grown up with only brothers. Carolyn’s family is especially grateful for Becky and the special friendship they shared.
Carolyn is survived by her husband of 59 years, Lowell. She is also survived by a son and daughter-in-law, Robert and Anita Knapp; and daughters and sons-in-law, Melinda (Mindy) and Keith Landwehr, Kimberly and Ben Lebeck and Cari and John McGrath. She leaves behind her grandchildren, Jon Landwehr and great-grandson, Jameson, Nick (Haley) Landwehr and great-grandson, Hudson, April (Jamie) Lebeck, Kaitlyn (Mason) Hoover and Jason Lebeck.
Carolyn is also survived by two brothers and sisters-in-law, Dennis and Annie Thomassen and Jim and Joy Thomassen; brother-in-law, Mike Koskela; and sister-in-law, Joan Knapp. She is also survived by many nephews, nieces and cousins, with whom she spent cherished time in their younger years.
The family requests donations be made to hospice, First Lutheran Church Memorial Fund or Astoria Scandinavian Heritage Association.
A small service was held on March 12, 2021, at First Lutheran Church, which was recorded and can be viewed by searching “Carolyn Knapp Memorial, 3-12-21” on YouTube.com or by requesting a link from the family.