Knut J. Aarsand, 62, yachtsman, founder of firm that owns franchise restaurants

October 21, 2002|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

Knut Jardar Aarsand, founder of a company that owns dozens of franchise restaurants and a yachtsman active in Annapolis-area charities, died of cancer Saturday at his Arnold home. He was 62.

Mr. Aarsand was the founder and chairman of Aarsand Management. He developed his first Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise in 1982, and the company has grown to include 56 KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut restaurants in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Born in Norway, he moved to the United States with his family as an infant and was raised in Tenafly, N.J. After graduating from Tenafly High School, he took up college studies in West Virginia, attending Davis & Elkins College in Elkins, and earning a bachelor of arts degree in history and English from Marshall University in Huntington.

After spending three years in the Marine Corps, attaining the rank of first lieutenant, Mr. Aarsand earned a law degree from George Washington University in 1967.

He had gone into business as founder of Aarsand & Co. in 1966, and in the early 1970s as a real estate broker with his own firm. Both have since closed.

In 1986, he started the Chief Executive Officers Investment Club in Annapolis. He was a founding board member of Second National Federal Savings Bank of Annapolis.

Mr. Aarsand took leadership roles in several organizations, serving as a director of the Annapolis Rotary Club, a member of the board of visitors of the University of Maryland Business School and on the president's council of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

In 1970, he became a member of the Annapolis Yacht Club and went on to lead its membership activities. Most recently, he was on the board of governors of the club. This month, he was given the Arnold C. Gay Award for outstanding contributions to the yacht club - the seventh recipient in its 116-year history.

"He was an avid yachtsman. He sailed and cruised around the Chesapeake Bay. He yachted all over the world," said his wife of 18 years, Elaine Clark Aarsand.

In 1991, Mr. Aarsand was chairman of the USS Annapolis Commissioning Committee, overseeing a project that culminated in the arrival of the nuclear-powered submarine during a Naval Academy graduation.

In 1993, he spearheaded construction of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Alumni Lodge at Davis & Elkins College.

Mr. Aarsand was a longtime member of St. Martin's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1120 Spa Road in Annapolis, where services will be held at 1:30 p.m. tomorrow.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Kurt Aarsand, and daughter, Krista Aarsand Bedford, both of Baltimore; a brother, the Rev. Torben Aarsand, pastor of Haven Lutheran Church in Hagerstown; and two grandchildren.

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