Richard Grant Kniffin, 66, of Livingston, Montana, passed away Saturday, January 27th, 2018 at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Billings.
Richard Grant Kniffin was born on October 26, 1951, in Watsonville, CA to Richard (Dick) Kniffen and Marilyn Kniffen. His parents moved to Bakersfield, CA shortly after his birth and raised their three children there.
Growing up, Richard was a Boy Scout who loved puns and helping people. He and his Dad delivered food baskets to the poor at Christmastime for many years, as part of the Fraternity of Eagles.
Richard loved to body surf. Family vacations meant trips to Pismo Beach near San Luis Obispo. Whenever someone inquired of his whereabouts, the answer was, "Dicky's in the water!" His additional body surfing experiences over the years took place in Tahiti, Charleston, S.C., La Jolla, CA, Corpus Christi, TX, Monterey and Goleta, CA, and Oahu, HI.
After graduating from West High with honors in 1969, Richard moved to Santa Barbara to attend UCSB. His Majors were Religious Studies and Music. It was in Santa Barbara that Richard met Mark and Elizabeth Prophet. It was then that he joined The Summit Lighthouse.
In 1972, Richard went with his brother, Scott, to the Holy Lands. They stopped on their return trip to attend an opera at the New York Met. They also visited the Statue of Liberty and actually were able to climb the staircase up to the Crown!
Richard met Pamela Rustad in 1974. They became engaged and married in 1975. They were married for 40 years. They lived in Seattle, Pamela's hometown, before moving to Montana.
In 1982, the Kniffin's adopted three siblings of a family of six from Great Falls, Montana. These children were 13, 10, and 9 years old respectively. This was an open adoption so that the children could stay in touch with their other siblings and, eventually, with their birth-mother. All three reunited with their birth-mother, while in their middle teen years.
In 1987, Richard Kniffin began taking Graduate Studies Courses at MSU, Bozeman, Montana. He focused on Adult and Community Education. He used his knowledge for his career in Insurance Sales.
While acting as a General Contractor in 1994, Richard was able to finish building Pamela's dream home on their land in Paradise Valley.
Besides jokes and puns, Richard loved to sing. With a suggestion from Pamela, he began voice lessons in Livingston with Marcia McCarry. He was able to audition for the Bozeman Symphonic Choir with his good friend, Pedro Pinardo. They sang together in this choir for many years, even up through last December. Richard also sang in several Bozeman Opera Chorus parts over the years. The opera, Aida, was a favorite. Richard was in the Cosmic Portals Choir and sang at many Retirement Homes at Christmastime in Livingston. Recently he was part of the Chord Rustlers out of Bozeman.
For many years, Richard and Pamela took in a foster child for weekend respite, through the Youth Dynamics group. This child rode horses, went fishing, and enjoyed swimming at Chico Hot Springs with Richard. He was still a child at heart.
Sadly, Richard had a stroke from which he could not recover. He passed away on January 27, 2018. He was only 66.
Richard was preceded in death by his parents, his cousin, Michael Kincheloe, his cousin, Alan Hunt, and his God-Mother, Patricia Pruden, with whom he remained close.
Richard is survived by his adoptive children, his brother, Scott (Brenda) Kniffen, his sister, Lynn (Jim) Schmidgall, many other cousins, relatives, and friends, including his ex-wife, Pamela Rustad. He will be missed.
A private Church Universal and Triumphant Cremation Memorial service was held. A public memorial service will be held at a later date. Arrangements are under the care of Franzen-Davis Funeral Home and Crematory.