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Herbert "Herb" Duane Knudsen

July 23, 1941 ~ April 18, 2020 (age 78)


Herbert "Herb" D. Knudsen, age 78, of Ogallala, NE, died Saturday, April 18, 2020, passing away peacefully in his sleep, after a full day at the office where he was strategizing and making big plans for the future. Always full of ideas, dreams, and optimism, we are thankful that neither he, nor we, knew it would be his final day on Earth.

Herb was born July 23, 1941 in Sioux City, Iowa to Keith and Dagmar (Nielsen) Knudsen. His birth was full of joy as he was the first of 35 cousins. Herb's first word was "cookie", which continued to be his favorite food until his passing.

Herb attended Dana College in Blair, NE where he started the Wrestling Team and was the Student Body President. It was at Dana that Herb met the love of his life, Karen Nielsen. Herb hosted a "New Student Picnic" and was instantly smitten. While their courtship was long and winding, Herb never gave up the pursuit. Herb and Karen were married August 6, 1966. Lovers of road trips, the newlyweds drove around lake Michigan on their Honeymoon.

Herb attended law school at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. There he was the first ever Vice President of the National Student Bar Association while also serving as the Student Body President. He traveled extensively throughout the country during his senior year in Law School to each judicial district. He graduated in 1968.

Herb and Karen relocated to Midland, Michigan after Law School to work with Dow Chemical Company as a patent attorney. In Midland, both Peter and Debbie were born. In 1971, Herb was recruited to work with Standard Oil of Ohio and the family moved to Cleveland, OH. In Ohio, both Karl and Mark were born. While working with SOHIO, Herb traveled throughout the world. He worked with companies and governments from the countries of East Germany, France, Romania, Bulgaria, Belgium, Italy, Czechoslovakia, and Japan. Over the course of his law career he became a renowned and respected patent attorney. 

In 1987, Herb founded Natural Fibers Corporation with a keen focus on the development of the Milkweed plant. From 1988-1990, Herb commuted from Cleveland to Ogallala on a bi-weekly basis. Natural Fibers Corporation grew and the family relocated to Ogallala in 1990 to work on the Milkweed project. This was the project he worked until his last day.

Over the past 30 years, Herb became quite active in several groups in the Ogallala community. He was a member of Rotary, Nebraska Diplomats, RYLA, the NE GOP, the Ash Hollow Pageant, the Teammate Mentorship Program, the United Methodist Church, the UMC Choir, and was a strong supporter of the Regional Arts Council. He and Karen also hosted Rotary exchange students. He tended to be quick to volunteer his time and services (and the time and services of his family). 

Herb's greatest attributes were his insatiable curiosity, can-do attitude, optimism, and boldness. Herb was friendly, kind, welcoming, and courteous to all. He will be dearly missed.

He was preceded in death by his parents; Keith and Dagmar Knudsen; and 1 brother, Dan Knudsen.

Herb is survived by his loving wife of 54 years, Karen (Nielsen) Knudsen; his 4 children; Peter, Debbie (Dekleva), Karl, and Mark. Herb had 9 grandchildren; Celie, Truman, Cedric, Mason, Christopher, Benjamin, Samuel, Jonathan, and Naomi. They kept him busy with football, soccer, basketball, golf, track, cross country, dance, trap, speech, plays and music. Herb was convinced they are all destined for greatness 

The family chose cremation. A Memorial Service will be held at 10:30 a.m., Friday, July 31, 2020 at the United Methodist Church in Ogallala with Rev. Chuck Rager officiating. 

Interment will follow the service in the Ogallala Cemetery.  

Memorials have been suggested to the First United Methodist Church of Ogallala, The Rotary Club of Ogallala, or the Alzheimer's Association.

Online condolences may be left by clicking the Share a Memory or the Tribute Wall Button by going to

The service will be live streamed from and 

Masks are recommended. 

Draucker Funeral Home has been entrusted with arrangements. 




To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Herbert "Herb" Duane Knudsen, please visit our floral store.

Funeral Service


April 23, 2020

9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Draucker Funeral Home
700 N. Spruce Street
Ogallala, NE 69153

Memorial Service
July 31, 2020

10:30 AM
First United Methodist Church (Lemoyne Cemetery, Lemoyne, Ogallala)


First United Methodist Church - Ogallala
421 N. Spruce Street, Ogallala NE 69153
Tel: 1-308-284-8455

Alzheimer's Association
225 N. Michigan Ave. Fl.17, Chicago IL 60601
Tel: 1-800-272-3900

Ogallala Rotary Club
519 East 1st. St., Ogallala NE 69153

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