Obituaries Samuel Kniffen

Samuel Keenan Kniffen Sr. died on July 18, 2004, at the age of 82, in Vermillion. He was a devoted husband, loving father, faithful Catholic, unswerving patriot, and friend to all.

Mr. Kniffen was born on Aug. 31, 1921, in Brooklyn, NY, to Otis and Regina (Keenan) Kniffen and he was raised in Rockville Centre, NY. He remembered using chewing gum to patch a tire on his first car, a Model T. He enlisted in 1943 and served in the United States Air Force for 25 years, flying over 10,000 hours as a navigator.

He was a veteran of three wars; WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, and received the Purple Heart for injuries received in WWII. On May 12, 1944, his B-17 airplane, "Return Trip Ticket," was shot down over Germany and he parachuted into the night. His back and left leg were broken upon impact and German soldiers captured him. He escaped from the German prisoner-of-war camp but was recaptured when his partner spoke to a German woman who alerted the authorities.

He remained a POW until Germany surrendered to American forces. Mr. Kniffen went on to serve in the next two wars. During peacetime he was the Chief Financial Officer at Macguire Air Force Base. He retired on July 4, 1968, as a lieutenant colonel.

On Aug. 23, 1954, he married Jane Elizabeth Wyman of Amityville, Long Island, NY, and loved her more dearly each year of their marriage. Mr. and Mrs. Kniffen would have celebrated their 50th anniversary next month.

While serving in the military, he earned a master's degree in accounting and in 1968 he began a second career in the field of education. He was a professor of business at Ohio Northern University, the University of Arkansas, and in 1976 he moved his family to Vermillion, and became a professor at The University of South Dakota, where he retired in 1986.

He enjoyed great success with the accounting and auditing programs at USD, always spoke highly of his colleagues, and was very proud of his students' achievements.

Mr. Kniffen was an active member of the Vermillion community, a Rotarian, and a member of Saint Agnes Catholic Church. He greatly valued his friendships with his immediate neighbors. He was intelligent, colorful and outgoing. He enjoyed fishing, sailing, playing the stock market on the Internet, and he loved to watch sports.

He held strong opinions on most subjects and never shied away from sharing his convictions. He had a unique sense of humor. He loved to talk about his flying days. His fighting spirit had a firm grip on life until the very end.

Mr. Kniffen is survived by his wife of 49 years, Jane; his brother, Bruce (Louise) of Naples, FL; his sister, Betty Hanlon, of Orlando, FL; his children, Gary, of New York City, Samuel (Sara), of Vermillion, Jeffrey, of St. Louis, MO, Nancy (Tom) Craig, of Vermillion, David, of Vermillion, Keith, of Frisco, TX, and Brian (Amy), of Arvada, CO; and his grandchildren, Chelsea Joy King, Tommy, Daniel, Joshua, Samuel, and Rylan Craig, Kyle Kniffen, and Samuel Keenan Kniffen III.

His brother, Otis, of New York, preceded Sam in death.

Cremation has taken place according to his wishes. Visitation began at 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 21, with a prayer service at 7 p.m. at the St. Agnes Catholic Church in Vermillion. Memorial Mass was 10 a.m. Thursday, July 22, at the church.

The Hansen Funeral Home in Vermillion was in charge of arrangements.

His family is grateful for the care and compassion of the staff at the Sioux Valley Vermillion Care Center and Hospital, and the kind assistance provided by Hansen Funeral Home.

Lee Richardson

Lee F. Richardson, 80, died Thursday, July 15, 2004 at home in Vermillion.

Mr. Richardson was born May 16, 1924 in Buffalo, NY, to Earl C. and Eva (Schank) Richardson. He received a B.A. from Cornell University and an MBA from New York University.

He served as a Yeoman First Class in the Navy during WWII and was later commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army. He worked and traveled abroad for more than 30 years. He was educated, cultured, worldly and, above all, always a gentleman. He was much beloved and will be greatly missed.

One of his greatest passions was opera. He visited many of the grand opera houses of the world to hear his favorite operas performed.

Mr. Richardon's memory will be cherished by his nephew and niece, Bill and Robin Richardson; grandnephews and grandniece, Gregory, Kenneth and Elizabeth Richardson; and niece Barbara Bekker and grandniece Camelia Bekker of Philadelphia. Mr. Richardson was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Donald E. Richardson.

Mr. Richardson will be buried in Buffalo, NY. Memorial services will be held there and in Madrid, Spain.

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