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In Death, They'll Always Have Lake Harriet

Couple forgoes headstone in favor of sidewalk legacy.

Dean and Arlene Knutson are planning on a slightly unconventional funeral. 

Next time you're sitting on a bench in the front row at the , though, look for a trio of pavers set into the ground underneath your feet that look like the ones posted at right, with the Knutson's names and one saying apiece. 

No, the Knutson's aren't underfoot. They are alive and well, and might even be walking by you as you stare between your shoes. But when the Golden Valley couple  do pass on, those three will be the only lasting public memorial 

There will be no headstone, no burial plot. Just the Knutsons' cremated ashes, scattered in the wind at . But, they have decided they can't entirely let tradition slip away.

"We still have a certain vein of tradition in us," Dean said. "We thought these might be our own, personal, spiritual memorial."

The couple had always wanted to contribute to the parks that Arlene played in as a kid growing up on the Northside, and which both have extensively enjoyed in their retirement, taking regular walks around Lake Harriet. The personalized pavers, Arlene said, seemed like the perfect solution. The pavers are paid for that helps pay for improvements in Minneapolis' park system. 

"We wanted to leave a message for the day," Arlene said. "Something uplifting that'll fill people with joy."

The Kutsons told Patch that they don't know if their friends and family will choose to have a memorial service or to visit the stones—"We haven't thought that far ahead," Arlene said, smiling—but either way, they'll certainly have left their mark on the parks.

People for Parks still has a lot of pavers to fill. If you'd like to buy one, check out their website for more info.

Jesse Lykken August 22, 2012 at 05:36 AM
That is so cool. What wonderful people the Knutsons must be. I think the concept of 'visiting the stones" is spiritually fulfilling, somehow. What a nice neighborhood we all live in!

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