Witherell Resident Spotlight: Eric Knutsen

Eric and Gail Knutsen

Some very interesting folks with fascinating personal stories reside at The Nathaniel Witherell. We’d like to share these with you, from time to time. If you happen to stop by, you’ll notice that every few weeks, Witherell features a new “Resident Spotlight” article, which is framed and found on the wall by the chapel foyer. Below is an adaptation of one such Spotlight piece, profiling resident Eric Knutsen. A special thank you to Sally Van Leeuwen, Witherell’s volunteer coordinator.

Eric Knutsen, age 75, was born in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn to Norwegian immigrant parents. He and his younger brother grew up in Brooklyn, but spent some time in Denmark and Pittsburgh, where their father, who worked in shipping, temporarily relocated the family. Eric graduated from Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn, then headed off to Yale University.

Eric met his future wife, Gail, when they were teens and the two married right after college graduation. Having an interest in computers, they both worked for IBM in Poughkeepsie, NY for two years, later moving to Cambridge, MA, where Eric earned his MBA from Harvard University. The couple then moved to Yorktown Heights, NY, near IBM where Eric resumed work. Two sons were born during this time. Feeling that it was time to strike out on his own, Eric became a young entrepreneur and co-founded Graphic Sciences, one of the young companies on the ground floor of facsimile reproducing (faxing).

In 1972, the Knutsen family moved to Riverside, Connecticut where their boys started school. Over the years, Eric worked for a several companies as a computer consultant. His last job was with the Gartner Group,an information technology research and advisory company.

Only 58 when he retired, Eric eagerly began to do a considerable amount of volunteer work. Always a golfer, he took on the role of club historian at Innis Arden Golf Club, writing their 100-year history book and running their 100th year gala.

For the Greenwich Historical Society, Eric spent countless hours promoting and selling a book they published, and was nominated as their Volunteer of the Year. He served on the board of directors at At Home in Greenwich, was active in Greenwich’s Retired Men’s Association, and sang with the Melody Men.

Besides golf, Eric enjoys attending the theater and movies. He and Gail now have four granddaughters, ages 8 through 13.

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