Cover photo for Deborah Knooihuizen's Obituary

Deborah Knooihuizen

d. March 23, 2024

Deborah Knooihuizen

Deborah Prow Knooihuizen
March 23, 2024

Deborah Prow Knooihuizen, age 66 of Stillwater, passed away at home on March 23, 2024. She was preceded in death by her parents Joseph and Dolores Prow; brothers Michael and John Prow; parents in-law Jerry and Dolores Knooihuizen; sisters-in-law Sara Prow and Mary Gartin; and brothers-in-law Duane Langrehr and Mark Knooihuizen.

She is survived by husband Paul; daughter Sarah (Patrick Hill) Knooihuizen; sons Andrew Knooihuizen and Joseph (Emma) Knooihuizen; grandchildren Nora and Arthur Knooihuizen; sister Marilyn Langrehr; brother Kenneth (Jane) Prow; sisters-in-law Joan (Don) Johnson, Beth (Thom) Bendtsen and Sandy Knooihuizen; brothers-in-law John Knooihuizen and Rhett Gartin; and many nieces, nephews and friends.

Debbie was born August 17, 1957 to Joe and Dolores Prow of St. Paul, where she grew up with siblings Marilyn, John, Ken and Michael. As the youngest she honed her strength and determination wrestling with three older brothers. Early on she exhibited a personality that was creative and practical. When passing notes to friends in class, she signed with just a heart or smiley face-an artistic touch that also made it difficult to identify the writer of the note should a teacher intercept it.

Debbie was a member of the first class of women who graduated from the University of St. Thomas in 1981. One day she went to a university rowing team tryout, where she encountered a handsome young man named Paul Knooihuizen. "You've got the most beautiful green eyes," he told her. He asked her for a Saturday date. "I have to go to the library," she said. Paul countered, "The library is closed on Saturday nights." They were married 14 months later on June 11, 1981.

The Knooihuizen family grew to five. Sarah was born in 1984, Andy in 1987 and Joe in 1992. Debbie and Paul were always present to support their kids at school activities and sporting events, and took them on memorable family vacations. As the kids grew into adulthood, Debbie was diligent about being there for them, whether it was a simple phone call, gift or care package. Even an accidental "pocket dial" might lead to a long, meaningful chat.

Debbie had a 34-year career as a senior fraud investigator for the Minnesota Department of Commerce. She was determined to help people recover what they had lost, aided by her encyclopedic knowledge of state statutes.

Debbie applied her artistic passion and creativity to pursuits such as stained-glass windows and colorful quilts. She was an accomplished baker and her lemon bars were the highlight of pot lucks, while her homemade caramels brightened Christmas for recipients. She was thoughtful and generous, and gave most of her creations to friends and relatives-even people she had just met-as a way of expressing her love.

Debbie and Paul loved the Minnesota State Fair, where they walked countless miles and bought commemorative bricks and a bench with the name Knooihuizen stretched across it. They also enjoyed many happy times at their cabin, boating on North Long Lake. Always the adventurer, Debbie regularly bicycled miles to nearby towns, her dog Sofie (aka Sophie) riding along in an attached milk crate.

In all aspects of their 42-year marriage, Debbie and Paul were a team. When they made stained glass, Debbie cut the glass and Paul did the lead work. When quilting, Paul cut the fabric and Debbie assembled the quilt. They traveled the world together. They zip- lined and rode hot air balloons together. They danced at concerts together. They delighted in their grandchildren, Nora and Arthur, together.

And they faced illness together. In September 2023, Debbie learned she had an aggressive cancer. The next few months were painful, but Debbie still found opportunities to experience the joy of being with the family she had nurtured and loved so deeply. On March 23, Debbie went to meet her Lord, leaving behind the model of a life lived fully.

A visitation will be held the night before the service on Wednesday, April 10th from 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM at Bradshaw Celebration of Life Center (2800 Curve Crest Boulevard, Stillwater, MN 55082).

A service will be held at Guardian Angel's Church (8260 4th St N, Oakdale, MN 55128) on Thursday, April 11th at 11:00 AM with a morning visitation beginning one hour before.

In Lieu of flowers donations preferred to Minnesota State Fair Foundation: https://www.msffoundation.org/

Past Services

Visitation

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

5:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

Bradshaw Celebration of Life Center - Stillwater

2800 Curve Crest Blvd, Stillwater, MN 55082

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Visitation

Thursday, April 11, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

Guardian Angels Catholic Church - Oakdale

8260 4th St N, Oakdale, MN 55128

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Memorial Service

Thursday, April 11, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

Guardian Angels Catholic Church - Oakdale

8260 4th St N, Oakdale, MN 55128

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