Happenings - April 2006
Grand County High School
Chris and Kim Knowles, GCHS Alumni
by Jeff Richards
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.
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 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
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
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.”