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John Ray Kohntopp, beloved son, brother, husband, father and friend, was born in Twin Falls, ID on November 23, 1975 and attended Buhl schools where he was active in sports, agriculture, and music. He continued the family tradition of participation in 4-H, church, and Boy Scouts, where he achieved his rank of Eagle Scout.
After high school, John attended the University of Idaho, where he was an active member in FarmHouse Fraternity and participated in marching band and the College of Agriculture. To earn extra money, he worked as a hasher for the Delta Delta Delta sorority. During his college years, he made many lifelong friends.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Education from the U of I, John started his teaching career in the ranch country of Unity, OR. He continued his teaching, FFA advising, and coaching girls basketball at Skyview High School in Nampa, ID, and then Elko High School in Elko, NV where he focused on welding, horticulture, and agriculture education.
While in Elko, he furthered his education by earning his master’s degree in Agriculture Education from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He raised thousands of dollars to send his FFA students to state and national competitions. Fundraisers included the annual tri-tip dinners, spring flower sales, and winter poinsettia sales. He was honored with many awards for his FFA advising and Ag teaching. He also served as the President of the Nevada Agriculture Educators Association which put him on the Board for the Nevada CTE (Career and Technical Education) Association of Educators. He enjoyed sharing his passion for agriculture education and CTE with people all over the country by attending conferences and events promoting the best education and skills for his students.
After years of bachelorhood, John met and married his best friend and true love, Hilary. This also made him an instant mentor and role model to her three children, Ryan, Kacie, and Evan. John and Hilary spent much of their time together and with their children enjoying travel around the country either on school or CTE trips or exciting adventures making lasting memories.
John was passionate and dedicated to his life’s role of educating students and influencing others from all backgrounds. In his rare spare time, he enjoyed outdoor activities with family and friends such as hunting, fishing, and boating throughout Nevada and Southern Idaho. He also enjoyed creating beautiful pieces of metal art that many of his friends and family cherish.
After 17 years of teaching, John began a new adventure of pursuing his passion for farming. Returning to Buhl fulfilled his parent’s dream of a son taking over the family farm and John’s love for new challenges.
In the most unfortunate circumstances, our talented and endearing John was taken from us much too soon from pancreatic cancer on April 29, 2018. John is survived by his wife Hilary and their children Ryan, Kacie, and Evan Bell; his parents Dean and Carolyn Kohntopp; his brothers Gus (Saunie), Michael, and Carl (Chandra); his nieces and nephews – Jared, Jessica, Lauren, Chandler, and Anelise Kohntopp, and Hayden and Warner Mentch; and numerous extended family members. He was preceded in death by his grandparents – Ella Kudlac and Ray and Wilma Kohntopp.
John impacted many people during his short life. All are welcome to share stories and pay respects at the following memorial services:
• Saturday, May 12, 3:00 p.m. at the United Methodist Church in Castleford, ID
• Saturday, May 19, 7:00 p.m. at the Elko Centennial Gymnasium in Elko, NV
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the John Kohntopp Memorial Scholarship at the following address:
Buhl Public School Foundation
c/o Lynn Busmann
920 Main St.
Buhl, ID 83316
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