Bob James Muffley, 76, of Wendell, Idaho, passed away on March 13, 2023, at his home, surrounded by his daughters and wife. His death followed a short battle with cancer.
Bob was born in Boise, on February 19, 1947, to James and Edna Muffley. The family soon moved to a farm in Gooding where he was raised with his sisters, Lois and Joan. In a narrative Bob wrote in high school, he describes the simple life and “…all the good times we had on the farm even though there wasn’t any television…we didn’t miss it or need it. We listened to the radio, played games, or sang songs while Dad played the piano.” Bob loved his family life.
Bob attended all 12 years of school in Gooding. He was active in Boy Scouts, DeMolay, baseball and football. He was a saxophonist in high school pep band and played in The Senator Dance Band. Several band members were life-long friends.
Bob attended the University of Idaho in 1965—he had a fantastic time there, which was why he transferred to CSI the very next year! He then attended Boise State College where he earned a BS in Business Administration. During this period, he married Virginia Mari Kast on October 1st, 1966. After college, Bob was drafted into the US Army and stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington. Bob’s typing skills and an unexpected injury kept him stateside, a fact that made his family very thankful, although he wasn’t happy about it.
The couple moved seven times following Bob’s job with First Security Bank. Bob and Mari eventually settled in Wendell, where he opened a Muffley Realty and Insurance branch under his father’s guidance. It was here that Bob and Mari raised their family of four daughters. When his father, Jim, retired, Bob took over the Gooding office.
Bob was very active within Gooding County. He joined the Lions Club, American Legion, was a member of the 40/8, and participated in the Gooding Chamber of Commerce. He advocated in Washington D.C. for Veteran Affairs. He served as local and state president for the Idaho Association of Realtors in 1986 and 1989, and was named Realtor of the Year in 1989. Later, Bob was appointed chairman of the “Mortgage Programs Subcommittee” for the National Association of Realtors. From 1989-93, Bob was elected as a Gooding County Commissioner, to promote the welfare of his community. One of the many things he accomplished was supporting the building of new grandstands at the fairgrounds, plus, he coined the Need to Eight—the beginning of “Save our Seats.”
Most notably, as a commissioner, he orchestrated and led part of the Middle Snake River Study Group in 1989 comprised of commissioners from Cassia, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln and Twin Falls counties. Bob had an idea: Instead of the government alphabet soup of agencies working independently of each other and creating an “us and them” mentality with local farmers, dairymen, fish hatcheries, power generators and irrigators, Bob brought these entities together. Steve Crump, in a Times News article titled “One Man, One River” quoted Bob who said, “’You look at the river and you try to find who to blame and you soon find that everybody’s to blame.’” Bob’s understanding and negotiation skills, along with an enduring passion to preserve the life-blood of Southern Idaho—the Snake River—prompted him to find ways for industry and the environment to survive and thrive side-by-side. The Middle Snake Regional Water Resources Commission is Bob’s enduring civil legacy.
It makes perfect sense that Bob’s other lasting legacy—his daughters—have all chosen careers that foster his ideas of community and working together. From a private business owner, to an educator and two government professionals; they did him proud. Bob encouraged his girls to make a difference, to always leave a place better than when they found it. His daughters, lovingly, also take partial credit for his fortitude, tolerance and empathy—four strong, independent, and passionate females will certainly teach any father patience and perseverance!
Amazingly, Bob did find time to unwind and enjoy personal and varied interests including restoring three classic cars. A little later in life, Bob’s passions for waterways were perhaps a result of his favorite past-time: fishing. Bob loved to fish. Fish, fish, fish. Before and after retirement, he and his crew, “The Four Amigos,” planned and executed hundreds of fishing expeditions. When the fishing was slow, the card game, gin, was the go-to, always for money, or for who would buy dinner. His sons-in-law and daughters were also invited on many a foray, and they cherish the memories. Catching walleye at Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir, was a favorite pursuit, as was stopping at Jackpot or The Cove, where the loser could buy dinner.
It was a somewhat sudden loss that will be felt daily as we miss him: his wonderful, distinctive, infectious laugh heard throughout the house; his excitement at catching “a wally;” his jibes and laments of “I’m in a real pickle,” just before going down for a gin hand; his presence at every school function, birthday party and sporting event he was invited to; greeting his girls as “Sis;” saying, “It’s a good thing you’re cute,” when giving money or forgiving a mistake, followed by, “’Cause ya ain’t too bright!” Then, he’d bake his famous chocolate chip cookies and love his family unconditionally and without reservation.
Bob is survived by his wife of 56 years, Mari; four daughters, Rebecca Lynn Lee, Jill Leontine Allgood, Debra Necia Urrutia, and Bethany Adelle Muffley-Ahlin; five grandchildren, Dougless Irene Skinner, Colten Carl Urrutia, Quincy James Urrutia, Charlize Ada Lee, and Sophia Leontine L’Wren Allgood; one great-grandson, Rian Douglas Skinner-Sheridan; and his sister, Lois Mintun.
Bob is preceded in death by his parents, James and Edna Muffley and his sister, Joan Mowery.
While Bob requested no formal services, the family will have a potluck gathering in his honor on a later date at a favorite fishing spot.
Cremation arrangements are under the care and direction of Demaray Funeral Service - Wendell Chapel.
A video tribute
The Life of Bob. It's a real humdinger.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Bob James Muffley, please visit our floral store.