Michael “Stumpy” Miller
Funeral services for Mike Miller will be held at 1:00 p.m., Friday, November 8, 2019 at Gillette Memorial Chapel with Pastor Ernie Bishop officiating. Michael Miller, age 78, of Gillette, WY passed away Monday, November 4, 2019 at Elkhorn Valley Rehabilitation Hospital in Casper, WY of natural causes. Mike was born September 29, 1941 in Buffalo, Wyoming. He was raised on the family ranch, Crazy Woman, east of town and attended school in Buffalo. He graduated from Johnson County High School in 1959 and went on to attend Casper College on a rodeo scholarship until he needed to return to work on the ranch. He continued the family ranch business for another 13 years, after which he went into the heavy construction business. He and his wife, Pat and their three small children moved to Gillette where he made working with machinery and construction his career until he retired in 2012.
Mike loved ranching, in particular he loved all things to do with horses. He loved to ride and train horses, with his all-time passion being rodeo and roping. He became a very good “healer” and went to many rodeos around the state with his father, Russ Miller, or Gary Duncan, being his favorite “healers.” If he couldn’t be in the rodeo arena, he loved to go fishing in the Big Horn Mountains.
Being a typical Basque, Mike loved the people he worked with, especially the sheepherders at the ranch and all his roping and ranching friends. He loved to laugh, he loved to tease, and very seldom did you see him without a smile on his face or hear a laugh that invariably turned heads. He was very proud of his heritage and was the apple of his grandmother, Dominica Esponda’s eye. He loved his family and was his Dad’s best friend.
In the later years of Mike’s life, he enjoyed driving around the countryside, especially the hills of Powder River and the mountains that he loved so much in his youth. He was very much a person “of the land” and the memories that it held for him. He loved being involved in the ventures of his children who remained living in the area. His daughter, Toni and her dogs, his son Mike’s rodeo career and his “sheep ranch” of 40 some acres, and his daughter-in-law, Michelle’s border collies.
“Stumpy,” as he was affectionately known after losing his thumb in a fencing accident, enjoyed spending his afternoons in his “office” at the Fireside Bar with many of his friends. Everyone who knew Mike loved him. His smile and his laugh were infectious. His good looks broke many hearts and if you were lucky enough to be called his friend, you were lucky enough.
Mike was tough, he was a cowboy to the core and his moto was, “When things get too tough for everybody else, they’re just right for us Basque-o’s.”
Mike is survived by three children in the Brea, California area; Marty Helms, Kevin Miller, Dixie Miller, a son Chris Miller of Buffalo, WY; daughter, Toni Pompura of Casper, WY; two sons, Mike Miller Jr. and Shawn Miller of Gillette, WY; sister Kate Miller of Buffalo, WY; and brother, Pat Miller of Belleville, IL. He is preceded in death by his wife, Patricia Hill Miller and parents, Grayce and Russ Miller. Memorials and condolences may be sent in care of Gillette Memorial Chapel, 210 West 5th Street, Gillette, WY 82716. Condolences may also be expressed at www.gillettememorialchapel.com