Dwight Dean Miller: 1927-2012
February 28, 2012
Dwight Dean Miller
After a blustery night of 80 mile per hour gales, the morning of Feb. 23, 2012, dawned to quiet, new-fallen snow. At 8:30 a.m., a patch of blue sky opened, and Dwight Miller flew gently through to heights unknown, but imagined.
Dwight Dean Miller was born in Hays, Kan., to Clifford (CD) and Trudy Miller on Dec. 18, 1927. After graduating from high school in Wichita, he joined the family in Hideaway Park (now known as Winter Park) in order to help build Miller’s Idlewild Inn. Construction was completed in 1947.
Dwight married Jean Hill on April 7, 1951, and the two of them began a long tradition of welcoming guests. Ever the consummate lodge owner and entertainer extraordinaire, Dwight, with Jean’s help, built a second resort, Miller’s Idlewild Lodge, which opened in 1958. It soon supported its own ski area for beginners, Ski Idlewild, as well as a year-round outdoor swimming pool, a dude ranch, and a nine-hole golf course. The family sold the Lodge in 1964; and Dwight continued pursuing what he loved to do – while making a living from it.
A true entrepreneur, Dwight built roads, airports, dams, drove and sold houseboats, moved houses, including his own, planted trees, and finally built a mini-storage near Tabernash – always accompanied by a canine companion. His passions involved all things mechanical – including tractors, trucks, boats, and airplanes. Those who have lived locally for years surely remember his early Sunday flights around the valley, buzzing friends, waking drunks and innocents alike. When he could no longer fly, he became interested in remote control boats and spent hundreds of hours building them with his good friend, master craftsman Dick Marshall. Dwight was surely the exemplification of the expression, “The only difference between a man and boys is the price of his toys.” Airplanes, Chinese Junks, tanks, boats … his wife, Jean, learned to say “You what!!??!!” in 50 different languages.
Dwight had the gift of the gab, a spirit generous beyond compare, a vision of all things possible and the courage and ability to bring those visions to life. He touched numbers untold with kindness, a joy of life, and boundless humor.
Dwight died from postoperative pneumonia after an acute gallbladder attack. He is survived by his wife of 61 (patient) years, Jean, his children, Martha Miller (Katherine Grimes and family, Jamie and Sean), James and wife Liza (Henry and Patrick), Jack and wife Jeannie (Michael and John) and Sarah Rulnick (Rebecca and Victoria). He is also survived by his sister, Virginia Cornell, and many nieces and nephews.
Special thanks to Dennis Standley and Peter Williams and the multitude of friends who have given support and assistance to both Dwight and Jean over the years, and to the caring staff at Sunrise and Vista Hospice
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 7, at the Church of Eternal Hills in Tabernash. An open house at the Miller’s will follow 1-4 p.m.
Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to Grand County Historical Association, PO Box 165, Hot Sulphur Springs, CO 80451; The Rollins Pass Restoration Association, P.O. Box 1082, Longmont CO 80502; or the Grand County Animal Shelter, P. O. Box 48, Hot Sulphur Springs, CO 80451.