Obituary: Hunter Griffith

Hunter Griffith
Provided Photo
Hunter Griffith,


January 10, 1928 – November 3, 2020

Sturgis, South Dakota

Hunter Jim Griffith passed away on November 3, 2020 at age 92 in Fort Meade VA Hospital at Sturgis, South Dakota. He was born January 10, 1928 in Yuma County, Colorado to Samuel Smith Hunter Griffith (Hunter) and Della Sophia Keller Griffith on the farm his parents homesteaded in October 1916. In the early 1930s, the homestead was droughted out and the family moved to a farm about five miles southwest of Loveland, Colorado.

Hunter lived life on his terms and enjoyed every minute. One of the last true cowboys, he worked hard, played hard, loved his family and friends and good horses. Always ready to laugh, quick to offer a helping hand and forever with an ornery gleam in his eye, Hunter was frequently instigating if not in the middle of shenanigans with nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews. His family will always smile when remembering Hunter and treasure the time spent with him.

The family raised turkeys to help control grasshoppers during the grasshopper plague of the 1930s and as supplemental income. Young Hunter tells of herding them in the many cherry orchards around Loveland. His father died January 31, 1942, when Hunter was only 15. Lowell Cope, a family friend, offered him work on the Hanson Ranch at Livermore, Colorado and always having had an affinity for dogs, horses, and cattle, readily took to the cowboy way. For the next 15 years, Lowell was his mentor and a significant influence in his life. Hunter worked there until 1950 when he took a break to serve his country in the Korean War.

After the war, he returned to the Hanson Ranch and worked there until about 1960 when he left to continue cowboying in various places and on various ranches in North Park and Lamar, Colorado; Wells, Nevada; and Jackson Hole and Saratoga, Wyoming, ultimately ending up on the Kendrick Ranches out of Decker, Montana and Sheridan, Wyoming in 1970. He worked there until the ranch was sold in 1989. He spent a year or so working for the Sinclair Cattle Company and the well-known TA Ranch at Kaycee, Wyoming. In 1991, along with good friends Hap and Carol Myers, he moved to Beaver Creek west of Sheridan, Wyoming. He was semi-retired at this time and worked summers for Russ Green at Leiter, Wyoming before retiring full time at Beaver Creek in 1994.

With declining eyesight, he moved to an assisted living home in Sheridan in 2008 where he enjoyed socializing with many friends. He loved ice cream, and in the summer, would walk to a small ice cream stand several times a week. He would tell anyone, there was nothing better than a little ice cream on a homemade pie. When his eyesight worsened, he moved to Belle Fourche, South Dakota to be closer to niece Judy Griffith and nephew Gene Griffith.

Hunter was a favored uncle to nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews and has left a string of friends and family who always enjoyed his stories and quick wit. One of the last things he said was he wished he could get on another horse. We are sure that he is there now, on a cow-savvy horse, chasing a few renegade cows back to the corrals and hoping he doesn’t miss supper with pie and ice cream for dessert.

Hunter was preceded in death by his parents, Samuel and Della Griffith; brother, Isaac Lealand (Lola May) Griffith; sisters, Pearl Elizabeth (Clarence) Cope, Reba Joyce (Wayne) Benson; niece Susan Ellen (Neil) Taylor and nephew Eldon Eugene Griffith.

He is survived by nieces Ruth Ellen Cope (John) Rydell; Verna Lea Cope (Roger) Algeier; Alberta Lou Cope (Ray) Powers; Joyce Eileen Benson (Ed) Kitchen; Judith Ann Griffith and nephews Gary Lynn Cope; Vance (Kathy) Benson; Steven Ike (Patti) Griffith and numerous grand nieces and nephews.

A small service will be held at Kinkade Mortuary in Sturgis, S.Dakota. and memorial services to held at a later date on Livermore Mountain in Colorado