Greg Miller, who was perhaps known around town not only for his Aspen Blinds & Draperies business but also his kind heart and generosity, passed away Sunday. He was 59.
Miller died of a massive heart attack en route to the hospital after spending the day water skiing at Ruedi Reservoir, family and friends said.
“He was so enjoying the day,” said close friend Judy Schumacher, adding the people who he spent the day with said he was commenting on how beautiful the snow-capped mountains were under blue skies and picture-perfect weather.
An avid skier, Miller racked up well over 100 days on the mountain this past season, surmised friend John Provine, who has been skiing with him all over the world, as well as doing top-to-bottom laps on Ajax.
Miller loved Aspen and its people.
“He was quintessential Aspen,” Provine said. He added that Miller considered everyone his friend.
“He had that unconditional love,” he said. “The whole town was his friend.”
Schumacher said Miller was known for keeping a journal of people’s birthdays and he never missed one of his friends’ special day.
An Ohio native, Miller moved to Aspen in 1989. He worked with his father and mother, Bob and Jane Miller, who founded Aspen Blinds & Draperies years prior to his arrival here.
As a father-and-son team, Bob and Greg worked side by side for more than eight years building the company before Bob’s untimely death in the late 1990s.
Schumacher recalled that Miller had a strong work ethic and was always on time for his clients, which stretched from the wealthy to Aspen’s workerbees.
Brenda Pringle, a flooring contractor who shared an office on North Mill Street with Miller, said he was a good friend to many and would do anything for them — whether it be jump-starting the car, or doing airport drop-offs and pick-ups.
“In time of need, Greg was there,” she said.
Miller could regularly be seen driving around in an Aspen Blinds & Draperies white car, his calling card of sorts, or his red convertible — both of which he always had in impeccable condition, Pringle said.
She described him as meticulous and a “neat nick.” Pringle said the two often laughed because he could tell if someone had sat at his desk based on what items were moved from their particular locales.
Schumacher said Miller will be missed by many.
“He certainly had a presence in town,” she said.
Miller was well-known in the Aspen community for his charity work. He was a member of the Aspen Mountain Club, and a board member and supporter of the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club, which provides youth in the Roaring Fork Valley with the opportunity to develop as winter sports athletes.
Besides a good portion of his income, Miller often donated window coverings and other products to organizations like Aspen schools, nonprofit organizations and charities.
“You have to give things back to the community if you are going to stay here forever — and I am going to stay here forever,” he told DWC Magazine in 1997.
Friends said after suffering from another heart attack in January, Miller made some lifestyle choices that had brought him health and happiness.
“I’ve never seen him so happy,” Pringle said.
But because of his family’s health history, Provine said, Miller had told him in the past that he might not be long for this world. He would have turned 60 on July 14.
Miller started water skiing a few years ago. A graduate of Ohio State University, Miller was a huge Buckeyes fan, as well as a lover of NASCAR.
Sigrid Campbell, Miller’s sister, said she has received an outpouring of calls from her brother’s friends — a testament to the life he led here.