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Beloved priest, Father David Riffle, served in many capacities for Diocese of Boise

The following story appeared in the August 26 Idaho Catholic Register.


Father David Riffle, the last of three Riffle brothers to serve as priests for the Diocese of Boise, passed away on Aug. 16, 2022, at the Hospice House in Hayden.


Bishop Peter Christensen presided at his funeral Mass on Tuesday, Aug. 23, at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Coeur d’Alene. About 10 other Diocese of Boise priests attended. The homily was given by Father Tom Loucks who served with Father Riffle for many years in north Idaho.


“There was always a gleam in his eye and always a slight smile on his face because he enjoyed joking and playing jokes on other people,” Father Loucks said. “He was a priest filled full of love, even when he was playing a trick, he was loving,” he said.

Father Riffle was born August 19, 1941 in Kellogg, the youngest of three sons born to Hugh and Madeline Rif-fle. His brothers, Douglas and Donald, were also ordained as priests.


He attended Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon and St. Thomas Seminary in Washington. Father Riffle was ordained on May 20, 1967 by Bishop Bernard Topel of Spokane at St. Alphonsus Church in Wallace. He served faithfully for nearly 40 years before retiring in 2006 from St. Ann’s Parish in Bonners Ferry.


He was active in many areas of his Catholic faith and from 1974-90 was director for the Catholic Communication Center where he created, produced and directed radio and TV spots. His television spots aired nationwide and overseas in other English-speaking countries.


He was also instrumental in the Pre-Cana and Worldwide Marriage Encounter programs, traveling to cities such as San Diego and Anchorage to lead weekends and provide training.


Shortly after his ordination, Father Riffle became the coordinator for CCD for the Diocese of Boise and, later, coordinator for the Cathada School of Religion. While serving as associate pastor at St. Pius X in Coeur d’Alene in 1973-74, he was director of the Search Program.


He served parishes in Horseshoe Bend (1971-72, 1974-77, and 1996-2000), St. Pius X in Coeur d’Alene (1973-74), St. Mary’s Boise (1982-90), St. Peter and Paul in Grangeville (1990-93), Sacred Heart in Emmett (1993-2000), St. Jude in Garden Valley (1999-2000), and St. Ann’s in Bonners Ferry, (2000-06).


In his limited spare time, he enjoyed fishing and hunting in the state he loved. He also had a private pilot’s license, flying single-engine aircrafts for 25 years. He enjoyed working and living on acreage south of St. Maries.



Priest brothers - Fathers David, Donald and Douglas Riffle (left to right) respectively as priests of the Diocese of Boise. Father Dave was ordained May 20, 1967; Father Don was ordained May 1962; and Father Doug’s ordination was May 18, 1957. The three brothers were the only children of Hugh and Madeleine Riffle. Father Don Riffle credited the faith of his parents and the obvious important of religion to the family as influencing the three of them to pursue the priesthood. (ICR archive photo/Colette Cowman/June 24, 1992)


“Father Dave was an ever-present influence,” wrote Gretchen Coats in a tribute on the English Funeral Chapel website. “The first time I met him was at a weekend retreat at Linger Longer Lodge in Coeur d’Alene, which many from our DeSales Group from St Ann’s Parish in Bonners Ferry attended. It was an unforgettably spiritual as well as instructive gathering of youth, pas-tors, nuns, and lay ministers … Thank you, Father Riffle, for your devotion to spreading the Good News.”




Recent photo of Father David Riffle on the right, a young photo of Father David Riffle in an undated photo


Margaret Pyette said she was pastoral associate to Father Riffle when he served in Bonners Ferry. “After every Sunday Mass he would leave to go to his property in St. Marie’s. He would always say to me, ‘I’m going home to play in the dirt.’ … He was an amazing man and I will forever miss him.”


 

(Editor’s note: News of Father Riffle’s passing came just before press deadline for the Idaho Catholic Register, not allowing us the time to speak to those who knew him best. If you have a favorite memory of Father Riffle you would like to share for possible future publication, send it to gfadness@rcdb.org.)


 

If you enjoyed this story and would like to read more like it, please consider buying a subscription to the Idaho Catholic Register. Your $20 yearly subscription also supports the work of the Diocese of Boise Communications Department, which includes not only the newspaper, but this website, social media posts and videos. You can subscribe here, or through your parish, or send a check to 1501 S. Federal Way, Boise, ID, 83705: or call 208-350-7554 to leave a credit card payment. Thank you, and God bless you.

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Diocesan Pastoral Center

FAX: (208) 342-0224

1501 S. FEDERAL WAY, SUITE 400, BOISE, ID 83705

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