Gerald “Pete” Knowlton


MENDOTA - Gerald “Pete” Knowlton, 75, of Mendota passed away June 17, 2020 at OSF St. Anthony’s Medical Center, Rockford.

Graveside services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 20 at Wisner Cemetery with Rev. Steve Mindrup officiating and military rites presented by Mendota VFW Post 4079. Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m. on Friday, June 19 at the Merritt Funeral Home, Mendota. Four attendees will be allowed inside at a time to keep the total number of people in the chapel at 10, per COVID-19 recommendations, and then asked to leave through the funeral home’s ramp entrance after greeting his wife and daughters. Attendees are required to wear a mask for entrance and asked to practice social distancing while waiting in line. The family appreciates your consideration during these times.

Pete was born March 9, 1945 in Barron, Wis., the seventh child of 14 born to Duane and Ida (Greenwold) Knowlton.

Survivors include his wife, Linda Knowlton of Mendota; four children, Melonie (Oris) Dearborn, Michelle (Dave) Barkman, Monica (Todd) Zimmerlein, and Alex (Shelly) Soto; two brothers, Larry (Martha) Knowlton and Kevin (Lori) Knowlton; five sisters, Marlene (Jim) Sloan, Barb Heinzeroth, Bev (Jim) Muzzarelli, Marilyn (Ron) Hopps and Kathie (Kent) Biederstedt; 13 grandchildren, Daniel, Evan, Hope, Paityn, KayLee, Charlee, Jaxson, Jake, Devin, Ulysses, Irene, Sebastian and Xavier; two brothers-in-law, Herb (Lois) Blackwell and Joe Drummer; one sister-in-law, Kathy Knowlton; and nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; one son, Anthony Soto; a son-in-law, James Dankenbring; three brothers, Delbert (Geneva) Knowlton, Donnie (Mary) Knowlton and Bill Knowlton; three sisters, Charlotte (Skip) Walker, Janet Blackwell and Connie Drummer; and a brother-in-law, Rich Heinzeroth.

When Pete was 5 years old, his family moved to Illinois where he grew up. He attended school in Meriden and Arlington and went to high school in LaMoille. He enjoyed telling stories about his family, schooling, friends, classmates and others he knew growing up. He loved being from a small town and often shared his memories of the people and places that made him the man he was. Pete met his wife, Linda, in 1990 at the Mendota Sweet Corn Festival. At the time, he had been married and divorced for many years and had three daughters who meant the world to him. Linda was also divorced and had two grown sons. He was the type of person who looked for the good in everyone and was a loyal and loving friend who treated everyone with respect. He was devoted to his family and his love for them grew deeper over the years. As a father, he instilled in his children his pride, love, goodness, honesty and the ability to work hard for a great future.

Pete served two years in the U.S. Army and was stationed in Korea. He was very proud to be a veteran and loved being involved with Mendota VFW Post 4079. He was the bar chairman at the VFW for many years and helped the club move forward providing ideas and ways to keep raising money so the club could continue offering services and activities for veterans. Pete was a wonderful, loving husband, father, grandfather and friend. He will be very missed by his family and everyone who was fortunate enough to know him but his goodness will remain with them to guide the way. “He’ll watch over us and be by our side always and forever!”

Memorials may be directed to Mendota VFW Post 4079.

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