Skiing soldier, builder, Chapel in the Pines trustee Lafi Miller has died at 97

Cullen “Lafi” Lafayette Miller, 97, passed away Feb. 8, 2014, at Sterling House in Fort Collins. Lafi was born Sept. 2, 1916, in Hereford, Texas to Annie Laura (Sasser) Miller and John Wallace Miller. The family moved to Fort Collins in 1920 where Lafi attended elementary and junior high school, graduating in 1936 from Fort Collins High School. He studied and played the violin for 12 years. While in school, he worked part time at his father’s Studebaker Agency and Garage.

Lafi married Juliana Jo Sloan in 1938 and enrolled in Colorado A&M, now Colorado State University, in 1939. Their son John Dennis was born between Lafi’s sophomore and junior years. Seven days after graduating in 1943, Lafi joined the Army. He served in the 10th Mountain Division (ski troops) and trained at Camp Hale. Before the 10th was sent to Italy he was transferred to help form and train the first Rocket Field Artillery Battalion. He then served with this outfit in the Philippines. Lafi’s assignments to both organizations were exciting and interesting earning him the rank of captain.

After WWII, Lafi worked in home and small business construction, eventually owning his own company. The Miller’s daughter, Rene Lee, was born in 1947. Lafi went to work for CSU in 1966 as a manager in facilities construction retiring in 1982. Lafi’s favorite project was Hughes Stadium. From 1950 to 1985 the Millers owned and operated Miller Manor Dance Studio where they taught square, round, and ballroom dancing. Lafi was an outstanding square dance caller. They also offered ballet, jazz and acrobatic classes.

Lafi and Jo enjoyed a mountain home for many years near Red Feather Lakes where they attended The Chapel In The Pines. Lafi enjoyed serving the chapel over the years and was honored as a trustee emeritus. His interests were many and included conducting historical tours and slide shows of the Livermore and Red Feather Lakes areas.

Lafi was the author of “Those Crazy Pioneers,” about historic events, people, and tales from the Larimer County region. The book has been popular with history buffs. Lafi belonged to the Pioneer Association, Fort Collins Historical Society and Red Feather Historical Society. He was a lifetime member of the Fort Collins Elks Lodge #804 and the 10th Mountain Division Association.

Lafi is preceded by sister Jenny Sue Toliver and brother Jay Miller. Lafi is survived by the love of his life, Juliana Jo, children Dennis and Rene, 10 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren.

Memorial services will be held over Memorial Day weekend. Details will be published at a later date. Memorial contributions to the Chapel In The Pines in Lafi’s name should be sent to Allnutt Funeral Service, 650 W. Drake Road, Fort Collins, CO, 80526.

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