Cover photo for John "Papa John" Venuti's Obituary
John "Papa John" Venuti Profile Photo
1943 John 2021

John "Papa John" Venuti

April 19, 1943 — March 8, 2021

John William Venuti “Papa John”, 77

John William Venuti, “Papa John”, 77, passed away peacefully at Kootenai Health in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho on March 8, 2021, with his wife, Darlene and two daughters, Meg and Katie by his side.

John was born on April 19, 1943 in Pescia, Italy.  He was the youngest and only son of Benvenuto and Mary Adina (Mandoli) Venuti.

At a young age, John and his family settled in Trail, British Columbia, Canada; they then moved to Kellogg.  This is where John grew up as a child; he attended and graduated from the Kellogg High School in 1963 and was a resident of Kellogg until his passing.

John worked many jobs including the Kopper Keg, Perks Down Under and the Bunker Hill Zinc Plant.  He worked as a salesman at Ponderosa Motors and Sunset Motors in Coeur d’ Alene.  John also owned and operated the Smoke Shop Tavern in Mullan, as well as, the Happy Landing in Smelterville.

John married Sandra Flory (Mills) in 1985; they later divorced.  He then married Darlene Walbridge on November 16, 1995 in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho.

John was a member of the St. Rita’s Catholic Church of Kellogg and in earlier years had served as a softball coach for St. Rita’s.

John so loved and enjoyed visiting with family and friends and talking of the “good old days”.  He was an avid Kellogg Wildcat, Seattle Seahawk, Mariner, New York Yankee, Gonzaga and University of Idaho fan.  John was either glued to the TV or had the radio on to keep up with their games (sometimes both at the same time).  He had a big heart full of kindness, generosity, love and devotion to his family and friends; to know John was to love him.  To John, wealth was not monetary; family and friends were his wealth and treasures in his life.

John is survived by his beloved wife Darlene Venuti of the family home of Kellogg; his faithful companion/fur baby, Murphy; his children Meg (Jim) Niple of Hilliard, Ohio, Katie (Gust) Johnson of Mullan, Crystal Coburn of Garden Grove, California, Robin Coburn of Auburn, Washington, Angela Knox of Lolo, Montana, Celeste Curry of Thompson Falls, Montana and Ben Bewick also of Thompson Falls; one granddaughter Madison Summers of Boise, Idaho; his mother-in-law Dorothy Walbridge of Kellogg; his sister Maria Pia Bertolozzi of Penticton, British Columbia, Canada; nephew Garry (Brenda) Bertolozzi of Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Canada; niece Nancy (Matt) Attrill of Penticton, British Columbia, Canada; and numerous great and great-great nephews and nieces.  John was preceded in death by his parents, numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.

Private Family Graveside/Inurnment Services will take place at the Shoshone Memorial Gardens of Pinehurst.   A Celebration of John’s Life will be held in the late Spring/early Summer.

The family wishes to thank Dr. Anthony Branz and staff for their amazing care throughout the years, as well as, the ICU nurses, doctors and staff at Kootenai Health during Papa’s final days.  Your care and compassion will never be forgotten by us.

Let your hearts not be troubled.  Believe in God; believe also in me.  In my Father’s house are many rooms, if it were not so would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may also be. John 14: 1-3

The family suggests that memorials may be made to any youth/sport activities with the Kellogg School District.

You may share your memories of John and sign his guest book at


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John "Papa John" Venuti, please visit our flower store.


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