Thursday, April 25, 2024

Thomas M. ‘Spud’ Kniffin

| August 1, 2020 1:00 AM

Dec. 23, 1941 — July 24, 2020

Spud was born Dec. 23, 1941, in Elko, Nev.; the second of five children to Thomas P. “Chuck” Kniffin and Lyda Kniffin. Spud passed away on July 24, 2020, at the Schneidmiller Hospice House, after enduring many years with dementia.

Spud grew up in southeastern Idaho where his dad worked for the Bureau of Indian affairs in and around Fort Hall, Idaho. He graduated from Blackfoot High School in 1962. He married Jacque Shoemaker, his high school sweetheart, in Wolf Point, Mont., on Nov. 20, 1962.

Spud and Jacque made their home in Blackfoot, where their daughter, Kathy Gay, was born on Dec. 16, 1964. During this time he participated in rodeo, riding bulls. We always said bull riders have more guts than brains!

In 1965 the family moved to Elko, where he worked for the Nevada DOT. He obtained his Class C drivers license. He continued to participate in rodeo but gave up bull riding and bought a team roping horse.

In 1975 the family moved to Reno, where he worked for Nevada DOT. He also was a teamster for a time, as well as an ironworker. He continued to team rope, finally selling his horse prior to moving to Pasadena, Calif., in May of 1986. Kathy had gotten married in 1985, so just Spud and Jacque made the move to California.

In 1992, Kathy, her husband and two children moved to the Coeur d’Alene area, then Spud and Jacque began visiting the area. Living in Southern California with the crime, traffic, earthquakes, smog, etc. had taken its toll, and they made the move to Coeur d’Alene in 1996 to be around Kathy and her girls. His granddaughters became the light of his life. They attended every school and sporting event the girls participated in. When the great-grandchildren began to arrive, he was even more smitten.

Spud loved to play golf and formed strong friendships with his golfing buddies. For about six years, a group of golfers would take a golf trip to Canada for seven days of playing 36 holes a day.

Eventually, as the dementia set in he was no longer able to play golf, but he never lost the desire. Dementia is a very cruel disease, robbing the person of everything. Losing him is heartbreaking but a huge relief that he will no longer suffer.

Spud is survived by his wife of 58 years; his daughter, Kathy Williams; granddaughters Shanell (Patrick) Huggins and Megan Shilling; great-grandchildren, Ayda Browand-Huggins, Ashley Huggins and Forest Briggs; his brother, Lee (Norma) Kniffin; and sisters, Patricia (Ken) Tandy and Andrea Righter and many cousins, nieces and nephews

Spud was proceeded in death by his parents and younger brother, Robert Clarke Kniffin.

A private family celebration of life will be held at a later date. English Funeral Chapel in Coeur d’Alene, has been entrusted with the arrangements. Please sign his online memorial at