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Joe Knutson drove to Bemidji from his home in Ohio to surprise his family on Christmas Eve. Pictured with Joe is his late wife, Anna, who died in mid-November after a five-year battle with breast cancer.

A Christmas surprise: To be with family in trying times, man drives from Ohio to surprise family in Bemidji

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BEMIDJI -- He drove 16 hours to surprise his family on Christmas Eve.

Joyful relatives rushed to greet Joe Knutson as he let himself into his aunt’s and uncle’s Bemidji home Tuesday, catching off guard his family members who previously had been told he wouldn’t make it.

“It was wonderful,” Joe said, speaking by cellphone Thursday as he headed back to Ohio. “We played games. We ate a lot of food. We laughed and we cried.”

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