March 17

Remembering an Industry Icon

The View

Born December 20, 1951 in Boston, John recently passed away at age 65 in his home in San Francisco of heart failure.

John led an illus­trious life as coffee profes­sional, inde­pen­dent real estate profes­sional, intrepid busi­nessman, investor, art collector, and photog­ra­pher. In 1990, John joined Knutsen Coffees, Ltd., in San Francisco, where he met the love of his life, Erna Knutsen, and pursued a 20-year career as CFO until 2010. Knutsen Coffees shut­tered their doors in 2014 with an announce­ment at the annual SCAA Exposition as John’s wife, Erna received the life­time achieve­ment award. Most recently, John was respon­sible for the launch of the Erna Knutsen line of single serve coffees in Taiwan.

Those who knew John, knew him to be opin­ion­ated, bois­terous, intel­li­gent and a person­ality within the specialty coffee world himself, who per his wife Erna, “never liked to pick up the phone”.

Among his many achieve­ments in specialty coffee, John served as an SCAA Board Director from 1998 – 2000, repre­senting Knutsen Coffees at the Roasters Guild as sponsor and partic­i­pant on the cupping team. John once appeared with Erna in a fund-raising calendar completely nude. John was known as a no-nonsense person with a very quick wit and dry sense of humor and heart as large as his girth.

An avid trav­eler, John loved to travel with Erna, not only in coffee producing coun­tries but also cred­ited to more than 15 cruises and motor home adven­tures with dear friends.

John’s love for Erna is possibly the best char­ac­ter­istic for which he is remem­bered. Assisting Erna every­where, with care and devo­tion.

John leaves behind many friends which include many lumi­naries in the coffee world. John is survived by his wife, Erna Knutsen, 95, who resides in San Francisco.

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