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Bud Miller

1943 - 2019
Bud Miller Obituary
10-02-1943 to 1-5-2019

We recently lost a long-standing member of our community, Howard Andrew "Bud" Miller, Jr. As a self-proclaimed recluse many wouldn't have seen him in town, but in his 31 years living in Carstens Ranch, he touched numerous lives, even halfway around the world. He is survived by his wife, Cheryl Miller, six children, Andy Miller, Brandy Carr, Andrew Miller, Fern Pyles, David Miller, and Sarah Miller, as well as numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Bud valued family and a relationship with the earth above all. He worked to develop The Ranch with organic gardens, horses, and livestock of all kinds. It was also a welcoming place for people to come and rest, restore or just talk spirit, philosophy, and politics. Because of the difficult family life he had as a child, he set out to create a strong, supportive family. His success is visible through an impressive extended family, both biological and in friendship. He loved having little children around and was always inspired by their inquisitiveness and pure view of life.

Prior to coming to San Miguel County, Bud grew up in New Jersey. He left at 16 to join the Navy. While in the Navy, he married Lynnda Theis and had his first two children; Howard A "Andy" Miller III and Brandy Carr. When the marriage ended, he wandered the country doing whatever caught his fancy, sometimes working for free to learn a new skill. His vast experience included buckarooing in Nevada, laboring on the Amsted Dam, driving trucks, welding, mining in Washington and operating heavy equipment. He then met Claudine Pinnecoose who brought him to Ignacio, Colorado. He decided to settle down and broadly explore the area in depth. He started a welding business, a mechanic shop and set up a learning center for reading while also working a 160-acre ranch. While in Ignacio, Bud had two step-sons, Muzzie, and Mickey, the second son of his own, Andrew Miller, and an adoptive son, Ray Paul "Pablo" Trajillo, all who called him Dad.

He discovered the Rocky Mountains and spent as much time "in camp" as he could with family and friends or just him, his dog and his horse. For many years he headed to the hills as the snow melted and came down as the snow flew. When he and Claudine ended their relationship, he settled in to raise Andrew and get to know the mountains he loved. He spent many years watching trees grow, tasting berries and making friends with wildlife and plants alike. He saw things many people miss by simply being there and paying attention.

In 1987, Cheryl Carstens passed through his camp via mutual friends. She enjoyed being in Bud's camp, but after a while, they developed a relationship and moved around the mountains to San Miguel County. They married in 1988 and had 3 children; Fern, David and Sarah, while making a more permanent camp outside of Placerville. Across 30 years, Bud made many friends who became family, raised his children and later enjoyed being with his grandchildren. He preached a philosophy of pay attention, watch trees grow, be witness, listen to the earth, let people and animals be themselves but you're allowed your own space and always be honest. Though that honesty could feel harsh at times, it was given with such sincerity people couldn't miss the love and acceptance that went with it. He was passionate and cared deeply about the people around him. He often said," I want to use it all up. I see no reason to die healthy." And he did, except maybe his big heart.

He spoke best in stories; stories his family is now documenting. If you have a story you'd like to share, write or record it and send to [email protected] Or give a story and take a story at Bud's Pig Roast Memorial on the Ranch Sunday, September 1, 2019 during Labor Day Weekend.
Published in The Durango Herald on Jan. 29, 2019
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