A friend of mine died on June 20. Yesterday afternoon Lindi and I attended the memorial service in his honor. My guess is that very few people who read this will have known Eddy. Hopefully you have a friend like Eddy.
Eddy was the kind of person that not only did everyone like but that everyone wanted to be like. Infectious smile. Interested in a million different things (including you). Adventurous. Just a joy to be around. Eddy built log cabins. Lindi and I took a 2-year-long small business course with Eddy at the local community college more than 20 years ago. We always stopped to chat at the neighborhood grocery store (which is the last place I spoke with Eddy a week or two before his death). We’d pass his and Ann’s home on our regular evening walks in the neighborhood. We all gathered for dinner with our friends Win and Laurel once in awhile–at their home or their cabin up at the lake.
I enjoy the outdoors a lot–which is one reason I choose to live in Oregon–but I’m not an outdoorsman. That’s Eddy. Here’s a great story about a stand up paddling (SUP) adventure that is typical Eddy.
From the program handed out at the service:
While on a rafting trip on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho, Eddy took an evening hike to get a view. This was one of his passions–looking for the perfect view that framed the day. It was to be his final hike. He slipped and fell off a cliff high above his river camp. The view from where he last stood was spectacular. Eddy lived as he died–doing something he loved to do.
Eddy and his twin sister Jessie were born in Portland, Oregon to Charles E. Miller III and his wife Mary. After graduating from Fountain Valley School in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Eddy took the road less traveled and attended the “University of Making a Life for Himself” in classic Eddy style–a curriculum that embraced his deep love for the outdoors and his life’s work as a log home builder and gifted craftsman. He perfected the fine art of living, whether he was sheepherding, rafting, fly-fishing, building, skiing or stand-up paddling. Nature was his greatest teacher, both on the rivers and in the mountains.
His parents had prepared him and his three sisters well for the skill required to thrive in the great outdoors. Fly-fishing was at the top of the list, followed closely by spending summers in the British Columbia wilderness and working on the family cattle ranch. He also developed an insatiable appetite for reading.
Eddy worked magic with wood and tools. His eye for function, balance and beauty is apparent in the home Eddy crafted for Ann, the love of his life. Eddy and Ann Thatcher were married in September 1985. Their love, like his craftsmanship, knew no boundaries.
As a longtime resident of Bend, Oregon, Eddy made friends with everyone he met. His easy smile and infectious laugh are qualities that all who knew him will remember. Eddy’s extraordinary life left a gift for everyone he touched–the pure love and joy of being alive. His hug was the confirmation of life itself.
We will miss his “short little outings” that turned into all day adventures. We will still do them because we can.
There were many people in attendance yesterday we didn’t know. A question that was asked more than once was, “How do you know Eddy?” That, my friends, is a key piece of the story of the life of Eddy Miller. He touched so many lives from so many different walks of life that it is both startling and inspiring to realize how–if one chooses to do so–one can spread friendship, joy, and love to the far reaches of humanity.
If more people treated others the way Eddy treated others the world would be a far happier and more peaceful place.
Thanks for the inspiration, Eddy, and the hugs, the conversations, and the laughs…