John Morris Knaplund: June 13, 1937 – Oct. 7, 2020

John Morris Knaplund passed away peacefully Oct. 7, 2020 surrounded by his loving family. Though we feel deep sadness, we rejoice that he is home with his Savior and Lord.

John was born to Carsten and Viola Knaplund in Ketchikan, Alaska on June 13, 1937. His parents and grandparents, John and Olga Knaplund, were fish-buyers in Kelly’s Cove on Noyes Island. His family moved to Whidbey Island, Wash., in 1949 where they built and ran Knaplund Hardware until 1974.

He was blessed with a loving family and married his best friend Marlene Thaves, in 1959. They enjoyed 61 years of marriage.

As a school teacher/coach he taught the fundamentals of life, mentoring students and athletes while being a faithful witness to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He excelled as a basketball and baseball player for both the Langley High School Falcons and Seattle Pacific College (now University) Falcons. As the basketball coach of the Marysville Tomahawks, he led them to the NW AA League/District and Region championship and finished 3rd at the State AA Tournament. The Everett Herald named him a finalist for the Man of the Year in Sports Award of Merit after the 1971-72 Tomahawk season. He returned home to coach at his alma mater Langley/South Whidbey Falcons to league and NW District A championships while finishing in sixth and eighth places at the State A Tournament.

He spent 11 years working for the South Whidbey School District as a project manager and school facilities director. During his tenure, he was responsible for projects that doubled the size of South Whidbey High School and remodeled Langley Middle School.

He worked for many years as a custom home builder for families on Whidbey Island. One of John’s greatest joys in life was taking his dogs to work with him every day as he was a life-long dog lover. After retirement, he built his dream home for Marlene and his family on his grandparents’/parents’ property. He experienced once more the very view which he so enjoyed as a child following in the footsteps of his parents and grandparents.

John was preceded in death by his beloved grandparents, parents and sister.

He is survived by the love of his life, Marlene; three sons Timothy, Jeffrey (Heather) and Gregory (Jennifer); and four grandchildren Dylan, Ally, Claire and Carsten.

Memorial gifts can be directed to The Island Church, P.O. 322, Langley, WA 98260

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