Death came too soon for teacher, friend

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 20, 2008

Death is inevitable. When I think about Marshall Knudsen’s passing, death also seems inconceivable.

Few people live their lives as fully as Knudsen did.

Mr. Knudsen was my high school French and English teacher. He taught me much more than conjugating the French verb etre and themes in Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar.”

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Mr. Knudsen taught his students how to be ladies and gentlemen.

We learned how to properly write letters for all occasions, phone etiquette and to appreciate British humor and French caf music.

He expanded our minds beyond our high school world to encompass other nation’s cultures.

Our biggest lesson, though, came from Mr. Knudsen’s actions.

He was thoughtful, caring, passionate, witty and hysterically funny.

Everyone who had the pleasure of knowing Mr. Knudsen is familiar with his sly smile after a witty remark.

Mr. Knudsen’s practice of carpe diem inspired his students.

Every day I enter the Selma Times Journal office, I know that he led me there.

As a 10th grade student, he told me, “Mademoiselle Nichols, you can indeed write well.”

Those words have given me confidence in school and inspiration to be a journalist.

My own words, though, fail me now when I want to convey how much I miss Mr. Knudsen.

Perhaps it is fitting that a French poet describes my thoughts the best.

“Sometimes, only one person is missing and the whole world seems depopulated,” said Alphonse de Lamartine

Mr. Knudsen, you will be greatly missed, but you live on in the lives of everyone you have touched.

Katie Nichols is a staff writer for The Selma Times-Journal. You may reach her at 410-1716 or by e-mail at