Terry Raff, (The Singing Mountain Man), passed away peacefully on Sunday morning, April 16, 2023 at the age of 82. He was born in Nampa, Idaho on October 31, 1940. His parents are Dayton and Evelyn (Higginson) Raff.
Terry’s childhood years were spent mostly in Nampa, Idaho where he graduated from High School in 1959. He attended Ricks College and then served a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the California Mission. Upon returning from his mission service, he graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor’s degree in 1965.
He married his sweetheart and eternal companion, Barbara Barney, in the Idaho Falls Temple in June of 1963. They were blessed with 5 sons and two daughters. Terry was a seminary teacher in Ogden, Provo and Kamas, Utah prior to becoming an elementary school teacher where he taught 6th grade for 15 years in Kamas, Utah. They built their home in Oakley, Utah with hand harvested logs from the Wasatch Mountains.
In 1977 Terry and his good friend, David Montgomery, founded the High Uinta Mountain Man Club (H.U.M.M.) where he and his family participated in rendezvous and other mountain man activities. Terry and his wife constructed a canvas tipi complete with liner and hand cut poles. They also made their own mountain man regalia. H.U.M.M. was a big part of the family’s activities where Terry earned the name “Pitch Bottom'' after sitting on a pitch covered stump in his beautiful new white leathers.
After learning of the family’s planned move to Kooskia, Idaho in 1983, Terry’s H.U.M.M. friends changed his mountain man name to “Dream Seeker.” Terry was one who always chased his dreams. They purchased 40 acres of bare land in the Tahoe / Big Cedar area. They roughed it for about 6 months living in the barn, tent and the tipi master bedroom before moving into their new home, with just the bare essentials completed. They quickly became acquainted with the infamous “Kooskia Curse!”
The family learned that necessity is the mother of invention and Terry’s career changed from school teacher to self-employed entertainer. He had learned a few guitar chords from his Dad and enjoyed singing those songs that he also learned from his Dad. He improved these talents and for the next 20 years, donned his mountain man clothes and took his one-man show on the road. He entertained mostly senior citizens in RV resorts and at other venues in the Snowbird / Winter Texans areas of America. Terry was inducted into the Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame and is the recipient of numerous awards. He performed for three seasons in Branson, Missouri and at numerous festivals and fairs throughout the country. He was a participating member of the Cowboy Poets of Idaho and enhanced his shows with cowboy and other poetry. He recorded 15 albums of music/poetry. Terry retired from his winter touring adventures in 2007 and served an 18 month mission with his wife to the Nevada Las Vegas Mission, assigned to Parker and Quartzsite, Arizona.
Terry was very active in the Boy Scouts of America, serving as scoutmaster for several years, and helped develop two scout camps. He earned scouting's Silver Beaver Award. He and his wife founded the Upper Clearwater Valley Frontier Music Festival and directed those activities for nine years. Terry had brief careers in the logging industry, farm and ranch hand, and sales. He has authored two books: The Stories Behind the Songs, and Miracles of the Lewis and Clark Expedition: Evidences of Divine Intervention.
Terry’s hobbies included reading, pottery, leatherwork, beading, calligraphy, and developing slide shows for his performances.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ has always been an essential part of Terry’s life. He was a devout member of his church with an abiding love for Jesus Christ and had a special love for the Bible and The Book of Mormon. He served in many areas of responsibility.
Terry was preceded in death by his son, Quinn; granddaughter, Eleanor Raff; brothers, Dayle, Stephen, and LeVern. He survived by spouse, Barbara; son, Dayne (Sally) Raff of Oakley, UT, son, Nathan (Kearstin) Raff of Kooskia, ID, daughter-in-law Maria Contreras-Raff (Quinn) of Lehi, UT, daughter, April (Eric) Hansen of Emmett, ID, son, Eric (Jalene) Raff of Lehi, UT, son, Lance (Laureen) Raff of Kooskia, ID, and daughter, Verena (Joshua) Crosby of Kooskia, ID. He leaves behind 36 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister, Daylene Waite of Oakley, UT.
A viewing will be held on Friday, April 21st from 9:00-10:45 AM at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - Kamiah Ward Chapel at 4440 Highway 12, Kamiah ID. Funeral services will follow at 11:00 AM. The interment will be in Tahoe Mountain Rest Cemetery. Services are in the care of the Potter Funeral Chapel of Emmett. 208-365-4491.
Special thanks to The Cottages of Emmett, Heart ‘n Home Hospice, Potter Funeral Chapel, and Kamiah Ward Relief Society.
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