The foundation of our family, Ken Staggs, 73, passed away of a cardiac arrest, on Saturday, February 26th, 2022 at Kootenai Medical Center in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. He was surrounded by his wife and children. Ken was the second of five children born to Gladys (Tom) and Charles “Chuck” Staggs in Salem, Oregon on February 11th, 1949. He was a proud member of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians of Oregon descended from the Mikonotunne and Kwatami Bands of the Tutuni Indians and the Shasta Band of the Rogue Indians. His childhood was spent on the Siletz reservation as well as in a logging camp. He was able to learn and thrive under any circumstance put in front of him. His adventures would lead to learning and teaching experiences that he used to help others later in life. He graduated from Springfield High School in 1967 and served two years in the Army. A few years later he relocated to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
Through the years, Ken’s work ethic could be witnessed in the several jobs he held. He worked as a floor layer, a cemetery director at Forest Cemetery, and later ran five departments at the CDA resort. Ready to make a change, Ken decided to fulfill his dream of influencing Native youth in a positive way. He went to college and graduated from Gonzaga University in 1995 with a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education. That year he was awarded Student of the Year in the first ever unanimous decision for that award. He started his teaching career as a History teacher in Plummer, Idaho. Over the years you could find Ken heavily involved in his surrounding community as a dedicated coach, umpire, and referee. To stay active Ken enjoyed playing the sports he coached recreationally, as well as golf and cribbage.
Ken was many different things to so many people. He was a loving husband, father, brother, Grandpa (Apa), Uncle, nephew, caring neighbor, teacher, coach, mentor, Veteran, and FRIEND. Throughout his life he had many hobbies. He collected old baseball and football cards. Ken was a classic car enthusiast but his soft spot was for any of the 1956 Chevys. Ken never met a stranger. He was always quick to find out what made someone open up and was a natural at making people feel at ease. He is remembered by his uncanny ability to teach through humor, sarcasm, and witty dialog, as well as his ability to pass on wisdom through story-telling and “outside-the-box” thinking. Ken would always use this quote: “The only thing you leave behind when you die is what you teach your children”. But for Ken, it was not only his children, which he cherished, it was his students and the athletes he coached.
Ken is survived by his wife Wilma (Parsons) Staggs, his four children: Duke Staggs (Wendy), Heather “Shy” Rice, Abraham “Horse” Staggs (Tyia), and Dalton Staggs (Ami); brother: Tom Staggs (Connie), sisters: Sue Langstaff, Cheryl Ben and Julie Hodges; 11 grandchildren: Lincoln, Lawney, Casey, Kiana, Mike, Caleb, Ben, Alexis, Kyla, Kade, and Kole; one great grandchild: Maverick, and his very large Native family.
There will be a Celebration of Life, Saturday, March 12th, at the Ponderosa Par 3 Golf Course in Coeur d'Alene bewtween 12p-3p. Stop by and share your “Ken Staggs” stories!