William Dwain Miller
April 21, 1929 – October 27, 2018
It is with great sadness that the family of William “Dwain” Miller announces his passing on Saturday, October 27 at the age of 89 years in Fort Collins, CO.
Dwain will be forever remembered by his wife and best friend of 62 years, Doris and his children Mark (Karen), Blake, Valarie (Peter). He will also be forever remembered by his grandchildren Noelle, Hailey, Colin and Lindee, and by his niece Cindy Butler (Mitch), nephew Rick Hurt (Margaret) and great nephew Brady Hurt.
Dwain was born in Mereta, TX and raised on his parent’s cotton farm. He attended San Angelo College before joining the Army and fighting in the Korean War. While serving as a medic, he was wounded in action and received the Purple Heart as well as the Silver Star for bravery. Upon returning home, Dwain attended Texas Tech University, earning his bachelors in Horticulture and Park Administration.
In the summer of 1955 while working as a seasonal ranger in Yellowstone National Park, he met and fell in love with Doris Ruth Sandsmark, who was also working in Yellowstone Park, and the rest, as they say, is history. They married in 1956 and eventually settled in Boulder, CO where Dwain was hired as Boulder’s first Parks and Recreation Director. During his time in Boulder he was instrumental in establishing the boundaries for the Boulder Mountain Parks, preserving Boulder’s trails and open spaces for all to enjoy today. His outstanding accomplishments earned him the prestigious Everly Award for environmental stewardship from the President of the United States in 1967.
In 1968, Dwain took a teaching position at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins and earned his doctorate in Parks Planning. He was very popular with his students, creating the infamous “Spring Trip”, a six week bus tour designed to visit and learn about National and State Parks throughout the western states. As one can imagine, there were many stories. He also helped establish the Landscape Architecture degree program at CSU before retiring in 1987.
Realizing that he wasn’t quite ready for retirement, Dwain took a job with the BLM in Fairbanks, AK. He and Doris lived there for 5 years before returning to their hometown of Ft. Collins in 1998 for the “actual” retirement.
Dwain was well known for his sense of humor and his hilarious story telling. Those that knew him and traveled with him on his many fishing, hunting and outdoors adventures were always in for a good time no matter the conditions. He loved gardening, golf and playing cards, but most of all he loved people and had an amazing number of good friends of all ages.
Perhaps Dwain’s greatest passion in life was fishing and hunting in Alaska. From his first trip, driving from Texas to Alaska just out of high school, to his many excursions while living there, the Alaskan adventures and stories were endless. In the summer of 1973 the Miller family took an epic road trip (with camper in tow) to Juneau, Alaska. The kids left town kicking and screaming, and came back a closer family with memories to last a lifetime. In 1985 Dwain started an annual trip to Yakutat, Alaska with family and friends and made the trip 32 years in a row.
A Funeral Service in memory of Dwain will be held on Saturday, November 10, 2018 at 2:00 p.m., at the First Presbyterian Church in Ft. Collins, CO. Those who so desire may make memorial donations in memory of Dwain to the Southwest Parks and Recreation Training Institute, of which Dwain was a founding member.
Donations can be made by check made out to SWPRTI, and mailed to: SWPRTI, 9640 Audelia, Suite 12374, Dallas, TX 75238; or online donation: www.swprti.org, go to “donations”, dropdown box to Dwain Miller Memorial.
- Funeral Service Saturday, November 10, 2018
William Dwain Miller
November 15, 2018
Dear Miller Family,
My condolences for your terrible loss!
To my children, Dwain, is known as the "Pear Man." Every year, for many years, we received a lovely package of fresh pears to enjoy around the Thanksgiving /Christmas season. To me, he will always be remembered as a compassionate human being who showed trust in me, a single mother with 3 children, barely employed and struggling to make ends meet. First, he trusted me as a worthy renter and later as a worthy buyer of the Kenroy Court house. I am aware that Dwain and Doris raised their family for many years in the the same home that I got to raise mine in. Thank you, Dwain, for recognizing my potential and giving me this jumpstart with my first home!!! In my business, raising kids, going to school and working, I probably never expressed enough how grateful I am to you and Doris.
In gratitude, Jette Carlson
November 7, 2018
Dwain Miller influenced my life and probably didn’t know it. I’m saddened by his death and extend my sympathies to his loved ones. I am profoundly sorry I didn’t know he was again living in Fort Collins because I lost touch after I graduated from CSU and moved out of state for graduate school. I now live in Fort Collins. I was one of the students on his first (1969) spring bus trip to national parks. It was a very memorable experience and his leadership made it rewarding and educational. It influenced my decision to go on to grad studies. He applauded our race out of the Grand Canyon, let us sleep on the outfield turf at a California baseball stadium (until the sprinklers started), and he lost $20 on my behalf in Las Vegas. Dwain was the one faculty member I most remember from my years at CSU.
November 4, 2018
Love this picture of 00Dwain - James Bond! Dwain was a real character like no other I will ever meet. He starred in a lot of his own stories, and every one was great.
When I was a kid, every story Dwain told would make my imagination run wild. Hearing one was like reading a great book. He told "Huck Finn" tales of himself, growing up in Texas, stealing watermelons and electrifying the hood of a buddy's car to shock him on a date. He talked about Alaska and suddenly became like Jack London reciting a chapter from "White Fang".
When he talked of his time in the Korean War, I was surprised, but it reminded me of comedy in the TV show "Mash". That's the part I appreciated most about the stories of Dwain's life. No matter how serious or dangerous the adventure became, there was always a part that made you laugh - just like James Bond.
November 2, 2018
So sorry for you loss. Lance and I have many wonderful memories of Dwain! We still talk about ‘Dwain Rules’ ever time we play a game! 😁 He had a way of never quite explaining ALL the rules at the beginning of a game and then telling just the ones during a game so it was in his favor! 😂 I adored that man! 😢
October 31, 2018
I am so sorry to hear this. I have so many good memories of Dwain. I know he is up in heaven throwing the dice and playing rummy. God bless to Doris, Mark, Blake, Valerie and all the grandchildren.