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Willard Frances Knutson

July 18, 2012
Pine Island Eagle

Willard Frances Knutson, also known as Billy Wayne, 65, a Lee County resident for the last four years, formerly of Oklahoma City, Okla., died Wednesday, July 4, 2012. He was born Aug. 31, 1946, in Anaheim, Calif., to Willard Knutson Sr. and Catherine Knutson, now deceased.

He attended the Pine Island Community Church and had served in the U.S. Marine Corps. He always had a smile and a positive attitude and was a likable, lovable guy. He recently had been an over-the-road truck driver but also had a career as a musician. He once played with Patsy Cline when he was 16, as well as playing on stage at the Grand Ole Opry. He had been a musician for over 40 years. He was also known as Billy Wayne and was the CEO of Associated Artists Management and AAM Records and that is where he formed Dakota Country in the late '60s. The current CD "Country Our Way" is an example of the traditional country music that you can hear from Dakota Country in their shows.

He is survived by his life partner, Willie Geraci of St. James City; his three loving children, Bonnie Fisher of Northwood, N.D., Billy (Michelle) Knutson of Harwood, N.D., and Joey Knutson and his fiance Chris Bergman of Christine, N.D.; nine grandchildren, Ricky Fisher, Randy Fisher, Megan Fisher, Gary Denault, Billy Bakke, Brandon Knutson, Kaitlyn Knutson, Holly Knutson and Ryder Knutson; as well as five great-grandchildren, Alexis Fisher, Jabin Newmes, Savannah Newmes, Ricky Fisher, III and Rendall Fisher.

Article Photos

Willard Frances Knutson

Funeral services were held Thursday, July 12, at Mullins Memorial, 1056 N.E. 7th Terrace, Cape Coral.

Monetary memorial contributions are suggested to the family of Willard Knutson in care of Mullins Memorial.

Friends are invited to send condolences via the on-line guest book which can be found at

Mullins Memorial Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Cape Coral, is entrusted with final care.



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