Jared N. Miller

Jared N. Miller, 84, passed away Dec. 22 in Canon City after a courageous two-year battle against cancer. He was surrounded by his loving family at the time of his passing.

Miller pursued many passions with vigor during his long life.

Miller was a nature photographer. He was a painter who worked primarily with oils and watercolors. But above all else, he was a musician. His 50-year obsession with the four-string banjo allowed him to play professionally throughout the continental United State and Alaska.

He was also an adventurer who, according to his family, never met a stranger during his extensive travels. At the age of 12, he raced quarter-midget racecars. He later raced motorcycles for Harley Davidson. He “crashed out” fellow dirt-track racer Willy Davidson and the collision was the beginning of a lifelong friendship between the two.

These adventures, in conjunction with Jared’s musical career, spawned friendships throughout the United States and Europe. Those friends would later become co-conspirators for a motorcycle tour of Poland and the rest of Europe during Miller’s 60s. He also completed snowshoeing trips near St. Elmo in his 80s, and he also twice volunteered at the 900-plus mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska. Closer to home, Miller rode fat-tire bicycles through the snow at Cooper Mountain near Leadville, and drove his Mazda Miata roadster through the Westcliffe mountains as if he was in the Indianapolis 500 he attended in his younger days.

He loved animals with a passion and the outdoors. He showed his beloved mini donkey, Lady Banjo, at the National Western Horse Stock Show and won first place on their first attempt. A decade later, in his 70s, he took his large burro, Hoya, into the Navajo Reservation for several week-long trips. Most of all, Miller loved the many dogs who accompanied him throughout his life.

His professional life was no less adventurous. Miller worked at the Climax mine near Leadville. He was a member of the Air Force Reserves at Lowery Air Base for three years. He took on a steady job with the Colorado Department of Corrections where he retired as a Sergeant in 1992. His love of country and sense of service remained with him throughout his life and drove him to play his patriotic genre of banjo music at various military bases. He also played music for elderly residents of assisted living facilities monthly. He was a dedicated Mason his entire life, and a member of the Eastern Star and American Legion.

Miller is survived by his wife of 35 years, Frieda Lynn, and their blended family: daughters Yvonne (Chuck) Nida, Sherry Miller and Andrea (Steve) Krusko; sons Jared (Denise) Miller Jr., John (Marsha) Wysong, and Jeffrey (Denise) Wysong; 13 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.

Services were held Wednesday, Dec. 30 at Grandview Christian Church.