Moab Happenings Archive
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Alumni Happenings - April 2006
Grand County High School

Chris and Kim Knowles, GCHS Alumni
by Jeff Richards

Kim and Chris KnowlesHigh school sweethearts Christopher Knowles and Kimberly M. Knowles, both members of the Grand County High School Class of 1980, own and operate the Knowles Home Furnishings furniture store in Moab. They had previously worked at Chris’s parents hardware store (where Zax Pizza is now located) for a number of years until building their new furniture store at 1004 South Main in 1998. The hardware store at 96 South Main Street closed for good in 2000, when Don and JoAnn Knowles retired.

Don and JoAnn, who moved to Moab in 1961, raised a family of five children while operating the hardware store on Main Street. Chris’s two brothers and two sisters all graduated from GCHS. Both of Chris’s parents and one brother still live in the Moab area, while the rest of the siblings now live out of state.

Meantime, Kim’s parents John and Rachel McDonald moved to Moab in 1963. Kim has two brothers and a sister, all of whom graduated from GCHS. John McDonald operated the Beehive gas station (located where the rock shop is on the north end of town) for a number of years, and also had an ice-making business in Spanish Valley (now known as Doles Ice Co., since the Doles family bought the business from him). Rachel McDonald, who passed away in April of 2002, was a home economics teacher for 28 years. “I had her in both 7th and 8th grade -- she was one of my favorite teachers,” says Kim. “I still use everything she taught me -- all the homemaking skills she taught me as both my mother and as my schoolteacher.” Kim’s father John continues to reside in Moab, and visits Chris and Kim at the furniture store regularly, often going to lunch with them.

Kim KnowlesBoth Chris and Kim were involved in a variety of activities while attending GCHS, and they continue to stay involved through their children. They are the parents of four daughters: Amber, 25, Lindsey, 21, Sydney, 16, and Emily, 12. Amber and Lindsey both graduated from GCHS, where Sydney is currently a junior and a member of the Devilettes drill team. Chris and Kim recently became grandparents when oldest daughter Amber and her husband Mathew Niesen had a baby girl named London a few months ago.

The Knowles family enjoys participating in various outdoor activities, including camping, biking, hiking, fishing, and hunting. “I like that the outdoors is close to home and isn’t too crowded,” says Kim.

Five members of the family (Chris, Mathew, Amber, Lindsey, and Sydney) ran in the five-mile race during the Canyonlands Half Marathon event last month, with Sydney recording the best time among them at 48:10.

Interestingly enough, the first-place finisher was the unrelated but similarly named Christopher Knoles (a 35-year-old man from Centerville), so several of Chris Knowles’ friends here in town heard the news on the radio and asked him if he had indeed won the race. “I said you’ve got to be kidding -- he ran it in about half the time it took me,” laughs Chris.

Chris Knowles

Chris remembers nearly taking the state championship in basketball his sophomore year, in 1978. “We had only lost two games all year, and they were both to Richfield. So when Millard upset them in the state tournament, we thought we had it,” recalls Chris. However, the Millard Eagles went on to win the championship game, and the Devils had to settle for second place. Chris’s older brother Don, however, did get to play on Grand’s only boys basketball championship team to date, back in 1973.

Kim was a cheerleader throughout high school and was the first attendant in the winter homecoming royalty her senior year. She also played in the band (as did Chris) and was a member of the pep club.

Kim’s favorite teachers in high school included English teacher Mr. Val Maughan, band teacher Jim Nissen, and home economics teacher Marion Holyoak. “There were so many influential teachers, I can’t name them all,” notes Kim. Chris also cited Nissen and Maughan as being his favorites, and also enjoyed being in Al Heaton’s shop class. Several of their teachers continue to reside in Moab to this day.

Chris and Kim (who had been sweethearts since 7th grade) were married in the summer of 1980, a few months after high school. Shortly thereafter, they moved up to Logan, where they both attended Utah State University for a year. “Chris tore up his leg playing basketball, so we moved back to Moab for awhile, then back up to Salt Lake, where he earned his associates degree in electronics,” recalls Kim. In 1983, with oldest child Amber in tow, they decided to move back to Moab again. “I moved back to Moab to work with my father in his hardware store, and we’ve been here ever since,” notes Chris.

The Knowles family’s support for GCHS athletics and activities remains strong, as they regularly attend sporting events and other school functions, decked out in the Red Devil colors of red and white. They also contribute to various fundraising activities, and the furniture store often sponsors various school groups. “We love being here in our home town, being close to our family in this small town atmosphere,” says Kim. “There are so many opportunities for the kids.”

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