Douglas Ervin Miller
Douglas Ervin Miller, born Jan. 5, 1948 died of natural causes on Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018, surrounded by family.
Fly fishing from the shores of his beloved Lake McDonald, passing tourists commented that Doug Miller looked like a cross between John Wayne and the Marlboro Man. To those who knew him, Doug was a true renaissance man, as comfortable in the kitchen cooking a Dutch Baby, as he was nursing a colicky horse back to health. More than any other role, Doug was a devoted husband and father. He cherished the relationship with his daughter, Yvette. After the passing of his beloved first wife, Yvonne (Wirth) Miller, who preceded him in death 35 years ago to the day, Doug raised Yvette alone. Many years later, when Yvette was grown, Doug considered himself blessed to meet Heather Steedman and fall in love for the second time.
Born in Havre to a ranching family that later expanded to Kona Ranch in Missoula, Doug spent his early life farming and ranching. He went to Culver Military Academy for his high school education and the University of Montana, where he majored in business and was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity.
He was the guy to call if someone needed help picking up a sick child from school and he never missed a chance to buy a candy bar or Cup of Noodles for them. He was a surrogate father and grandfather for generations of children who came into his home. Days before he died, he was on his porch, counting heads in the lake to make sure all the children in his community were accounted for. The birth of his grandchildren, Ben and Annie, filled his final decade with tremendous joy. He loved taking them for rides on his tractor, teaching them how to canoe, kayak, and take care of the horses.
Doug was always surrounded by friends who enjoyed sharing a drink with him on the porch of his cabin in Kelly’s Camp on Lake McDonald. He loved the outdoors and there wasn’t anything he couldn’t fix. Some say he was a cross between Jeremiah Johnson and TV’s Mac MacGyver. Throughout his life he was always working on at least one project with a blue heeler or border collie at his side. His friends knew to head to his garage to hear a story about his last adventure while he fixed whatever was broken. While he lived many places throughout his life, his cabin in Kelly’s Camp is where he was the most at home. He was heartbroken when the cabin burned down in the Howe Ridge Fire the week before his death, but refused to leave before he had knocked on every door to make sure his neighbors were out safe.
In 2004 he married Heather Steedman from the UK. They had met five years prior when Heather was visiting Glacier National Park on vacation. Doug had given Heather great info on places to see on her vacation and Heather had kept him on her list of people to get in touch with if she returned to the USA. Heather returned to the USA in 2003 and in passing through Wickenburg, Arizona, on her way to visit Sedona and despite only having Doug’s contact information as “Doug in the U.S.”, she discovered Doug had bought a ranch in Wickenburg, Arizona and she was only four miles from him. They met, had dinner, and thus set the stage for the 5-foot-3 vegetarian meets 6-foot-4 rancher marriage.
There were so many people who brought joy and love to his life; his family is so grateful for their support. He was a member of the Rotary Association, Lion’s Club of America, and The Cattleman’s Association.
He is survived by his wife Heather Steedman of Missoula, his daughter Yvette Heintz of Missoula, grandchildren Ben and Annie Heintz of Missoula, and his brother James Philip (Phyllis) Miller of Camino Island, Washington.
He was preceded in death by his mother and father, Margueritte and Henry Miller, wife Yvonne Wirth Miller and her mother and father Yvette and Rudy Wirth.
A private service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers contributions to the Rocky Mountain Leukemia and Lymphoma Society would be appreciated. We miss you Doug. You will forever be remembered. We love you to the mountains and back.