Mt Pleasant News

Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 22, 2018

Juanita (Nita) Smutz Kneen

Feb 19, 2018

April 17, 1932 - February 12, 2018

Juanita (Nita) Smutz Kneen of Naples, Fla. (formerly of Ottumwa, Iowa) died Monday, February 12, 2018 in Naples, Fla. due to natural causes with loved ones at her bedside.


She was born in Burlington, Iowa on April 17, 1932 to Ralph H. and Margaret Elaine (Conard) Smutz and grew up in Salem, Iowa. She attended school in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. Nita graduated from Stephens College, Columbia, Mo. and continued her studies at The University of Iowa until June of 1951. She married Jon Hubert Kneen in Omaha, Neb. on June 27, 1954.


Nita was a homemaker and played an integral role in the growth and success of the family business, Al-Jon Manufacturing, until its sale in 2006. She worked with the American Home Finding Association, serving as a board member and president from 1974 to 1980. She later served in a variety of positions including president of the board and board member for the State of Iowa Maternal Child Health Association from 1981 thru 1989.  Nita was a member of P.E.O., Trinity Episcopal Church and numerous other organizations. In recognition of her numerous commitments and accomplishments in her civic and charitable work, Nita was twice awarded the State of Iowa Governor's Volunteer Award in 1985 and 1991.


Nita was preceded in death by her husband, Jon H. Kneen (2016); a sister, Wynona Hartley, one week prior to her death; and her parents.


She is survived by two sons: Kendig (Carol) Kneen of Ottumwa, Iowa, Timothy (Gretchen) Kneen of Parker, Colo.; and five grandchildren: Elizabeth (Amos) Winter of Boston, Mass., Kristopher Kneen of Parker, Colo., Jon Kneen of Denver, Colo., Jon Preston Kneen and Cassie Elina Kneen, both currently attending college in Scotland.

Per Nita's wishes, a private celebration of life will be held at a later date.

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