Ralph Miller, 90, died peacefully Dec. 19 after complications from a sudden illness.
His friends in the Monument area knew Miller for his warm, welcoming personality and generosity. He and his wife, Jeanne, loved ranch life and the rugged beauty of the area. They always kept a warm pot of coffee for anyone who dropped by, hosted annual dessert nights and enjoyed the July 4 fireworks show in Monument.
Miller purchased Top Ranch in 1979. Over the years, the ranch raised wheat, sheep, pigs and goats and is now back to a full-time cattle operation.
He grew up in San Diego where he piloted water taxis ferrying U.S. Navy sailors. As a deckhand on the family’s sport fishing boats, he met his future wife, Jeanne Chalfant Watkins, from Amarillo, Texas. He enrolled at Stanford University at age 16 but after his first year left to serve in the Navy as a radioman on Guam during World War II.
After the war, he returned to Stanford to complete his bachelor’s degree. Ralph and Jeanne married in 1949, and he graduated with an MBA from Stanford the same month that the first of their five children were born. He established a private law practice in 1959 and retired in 2005.
He is survived by his wife, Jeanne; four children; and six grandchildren.