House 1951-54 (District 65)
Party when first elected: Nonpartisan Election-Liberal Caucus
Clearwater, Pennington, Red Lake
Date of Birth:
Edmore, North Dakota
Date of Death:
Former Name: Gjesdal
City of Residence (when first elected):
Occupation (when first elected):
Teacher/Hotel and Cafe Operator, Oklee, Minnesota
Edmore Public Schools, North Dakota; Elementary School;
Edmore Public Schools, North Dakota; Secondary; Graduate, 1930
Concordia College, Moorhead; B.A.; Education (Music/English), 1934
Julliard School of Music, New York City, New York; Attended Graduate School; Opera
State Teachers College, Moorhead; Attended Graduate School; Library Science
OTHER GOVERNMENT SERVICE
Red Lake County, Minnesota (Agricultural Adjustment Committee, Agent);
1941 to 1944
Red Lake County, Minnesota (Welfare Board);
1948 to 1950
9th Congressional District, Minnesota;
01/03/1955 to 01/03/1959
U.S. Executive Branch:
United States Department of Defense, Civil Defense Agency, Pentagon, Washington D.C.;
196? to 1970
Andy Knutson (married on March 21, 1940; divorced in 1962; he died in 1969 of acute alcohol poisoning)
One child: Terrance "Terry" (adopted son)
Family Members Who Have Served in the Minnesota Legislature:
She was of Norwegian ancestry.
She was born on a farm near Edmore, North Dakota.
She was a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. (Minnesota Legislative Commission on the Economic Status of Women)
She was the first female from Minnesota to serve in the United States House of Representatives.
She ran unsuccessfully for the United States House of Representatives in the 1958 and 1960 elections.
She was the only Democrat in the United States House of Representatives to lose to a Republican in the 1958 election. The upset came after her husband urged her to leave Congress. Headlines around the U.S. featured his plea: "Coya, Come Home." The Knutson's were later divorced. (Coya Knutson, New York Times, December 26, 1976)
She was an unsuccessful candidate for nomination to the United States House of Representatives in a February 8, 1977 special election primary.
She was a member of Mu Phi Epsilon National Musical Sorority.
She died from kidney failure at the Edina Care Center nursing home in Minnesota.
She was a member of Zion Lutheran Church in Oklee, Minnesota.
Religion provided by Current Biography, March 1956.