Arlene Ann (Weaver) Millich, 82, died in Durango, Colorado on May 11, 2021 after an extended illness.
She was born March 5, 1939 at the Taylor Hospital in Ignacio, Colorado to the late Joseph Buck Weaver and Ruby (Taylor) Garcia, but raised by surrogate, Euterpe Taylor, whom she called Grandma Chiefie. She was proud of her heritage, member of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, and great granddaughter of notable Chief Buckskin Charley and Civil War slave, John Taylor.
She attended the Bureau of Indian Affairs school up to the 9th grade and transferred to and graduated from Ignacio High School in 1957. Being self-reliant and wanting to see the world, she attended college at the University of Kansas, University of Colorado, and finally graduated from Fort Lewis College, with a degree in Humanities, after traipsing around for 14 years. Ten years later she received a Masters' Degree from the University of Northern Colorado, in Guidance and Counseling. She was inspired to continue with her educational endeavors by a young PHS doctor, Dr. Printz, who as a young married woman with two children, was capable of being more than a medical clerk. He was not wrong.
In 1955 at 15 years old, she met the love of her life, Lawrence J. Millich. They married in the original St. Ignatius Church in Ignacio on Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 1962. At age 24, she would now not be considered an old maid. The following year, November 22nd was supposed to be their first wedding anniversary, and a day to celebrate, but it was also the day when John F. Kennedy, President of the United States, was assassinated - it was not a happy day.
Arlene and Larry, were partners in life and business. They owned and operated a farm and cattle ranch. She worked in the Ignacio School District as a teacher; became the Director of the Senior Citizen's Program; Director of Education for the Southern Ute Tribe; and the Director of Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center (Peaceful Spirit); finally retiring from the Sky Ute Casino as a Career Counselor for the Southern Ute Tribal members, employed at the casino.
Arlene loved to write stories for her children and grandchildren. She started writing the history of the Taylor family and her own memoirs. Painting watercolors was her most enjoyable past time, along with playing poker, eating out, playing golf and being with her immediate family members.
In 1981, at the Vatican in Rome, Italy, for the Beatification of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, she was honored to shake hands with Pope John Paul II, President Jimmy Carter, his wife Rosalyn, and daughter Amy. The entire Rome experience was the highlight of her life she would say.
It was very important for Arlene to carry on the traditions and values instilled by her grandmother-work, education, and spiritual life without the alcohol that plagued her community.
Arlene would say she fell in love with the Catholic Church when she was very young. She served on the Sacred Heart Catholic Church Board and participated in the various roles for lay persons: CCD teacher, Eucharistic minister, lector, and commentator. She was involved with the Cursillo Movement, giving almost all of the various talks and giving testimony on her love on her love God/Jesus. A day would not go by without her saying her beloved Rosary. Her gold amulet of "Our Lady of Guadalupe" was her protector and would never be absent from her neck.
The legacy she leaves behind is the love for the Creator, husband, children and grandchildren and those who will come after she is gone. She believed that spirituality, education, work ethic, voice for people, love of neighbor, assertiveness and a sincere conviction of right and wrong were qualities essential for a good life.
Mrs. Millich is survived by her husband of 58 years, Lawrence Millich, and daughter, Dedra White Eagle (Larry White), Durango CO; Diane E. Millich (Myron Olguin) Durango, CO; Scott Millich (Kristin Millich), Draper, UT. Grandchildren Brittney (Casey) Taylor, Midland, TX; Roger Garcia (Sandra) Durango, CO; Nick Olguin, Arboles, CO; Ayla Olguin, Durango, CO; Calvin, Dustin, and Sophia Millich of Draper, UT; sister, Lillian Seibel, and brother, Roland Norris of Ignacio, CO; ten great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. In addition to her parents, she weas preceded in death by grandmother, Euterpe Taylor and brother Joel Weaver. Arlene wrote the following:
"ALL PERSONS ATTENDING THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE MASS ARE
ASKED NOT TO WEAR BLACK CLOTHING."
Cremation has occurred and a Rosary will be recited Friday, May 14, 2021 at 6:00 pm, at Saint Ignatius Catholic Church in Ignacio. A Mass of Christian burial will be Saturday, May 15, 2021 at 10:00 am, also at Saint Ignatius Catholic Church. Celebrant will be Rev. Fr. Cesar Cayetano Arras, CR THEAT.
All attendees are invited to a joyous reception and dinner at Saint Ignatius Parish Hall following the Mass.
***Arlene wrote this obituary in 2010 because she just knew her kids would mess it up, LOL!!***
Published in The Durango Herald on May 13, 2021.