Bon Mot, Morris Knudsen Scholarship

Bon Mot.  The Morris Knudsen Scholarship at Tulare Union High School.

Bon Mot ~ pronounced "bon mo" ~ sounds like "Good Mo" ~ but actually means well-chosen word. 

The family of Morris Knudsen invite friends, family, former students, or admirers who would like to honor his memory to contribute to Bon Mot.

Our goal is to ultimately endow a $50,000 scholarship fund, to provide a meaningful annual gift  to curious and quirky students with a demonstrated love of language and learning.  

Morris' beloved Panhard has found a new home and brought in the first donation of $5000 from Jay Leno's foundation.  

Gift amount$ suggested by former students:

$102 ~ in honor of his room, known as Juan O Too.

The price of an ounce or gram of gold or silver ~ always noted on the blackboard.

The cost of a subscription to The New Yorker  ~ his favorite read. Or any gift meaningful to Y.O.U. 

Through this scholarship, Mo will continue to live on through the words and deeds of a new generation. We look forward to awarding the first scholarship to a deserving student in spring 2015.  

A memorial service will be held on March 28, 2015
10 am - 12:00 pm
Social Hall
International Agri Center
4500 S. Laspina Street
Tulare, CA 93274

About Morris Knudsen.
If you didn't know Morris, he was one of a kind.  

Born July 12, 1927 in Los Angeles, California, Morris attended University High School, graduating in 1945. He entered the U.S. Navy in July of the same year and the following year he began studies at UCLA. In the fall of 1947, he transferred to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and graduated in 1950 having earned his Bachelor of Arts in Greek and membership in the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

In 1951, he accepted a position at Tulare High after a year of student teaching in Vista, California. For the next 33 years he taught French, Latin and English to the children of Tulare and in later years, to the children of those children.

Considered the most interesting place on campus, “Juan O Too” was a classroom where the price of gold, a quote from The New Yorker magazine or columnist Herb Caen was as likely to be discussed as the actual course material. Learning continued outside the classroom with students joining him in the consumption of the French delicacy escargot, the royal Roman staple, whole roast pig at Mooney's Grove or embarking on epic journeys into the High Sierras. He retired in 1985 and was honored with the dedication of that year's yearbook, The Argus.

In retirement he enjoyed the company of friends and family, adventures with ElderHostel, fishing with his grandson, volunteering with hospice, Tulare Historical Society and The Tulare Farm Equipment Show. He was involved with Tulare Wine Tasters, Tulare County Symphony and Tulare Playhouse. Around town he was seen on a bicycle or in a French car that was the only one in town. From his garden, of which the centerpiece for years was a dicondra lawn he weeded by hand, he produced vegetables, greens, flowers and boysenberries that he delivered to friends on his bike.

Mo, Mochën, Monsieur, Dad and Grandpa were some of the names he was known by. Funny, charming witty, refined are but a few of the words being used to remember him.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Tulare Joint Union High School District. ATT: Bon Mot, Morris Knudsen Scholarship fund, c/o Mary Lou Correia, 426 N. Blackstone, Tulare CA 93274.

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Claire Donahue 
Tulare, CA
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