Remembering Tacoma Mountaineer Ben Miller

The Mountaineers lost a good friend and great person when Ben Miller passed away following a battle with brain cancer.
Geoff Lawrence Geoff Lawrence
Board President & Tacoma Branch Member
October 06, 2017

The Mountaineers lost a good friend and great person when Ben Miller passed away on June 12, 2017, following a 2+ year battle with brain cancer.

Ben Miller (1964 – 2017)

Hailing from North Carolina, Ben attended Haverford College in Philadelphia, PA, and after serving a two-year stint in the Peace Corp stationed in Niger he found his way to the Pacific Northwest, home of his future wife Lori Hess.  After receiving his law degree from University of Puget Sound, Ben worked for several years as a public defender in Island County, before suspending his practice of law and moving to Tacoma. 

As is true for many, Ben became interested in climbing after moving to Tacoma where Mount Rainier is a constant and irresistible seductress. After a successful climb with RMI, Ben was determined to learn to climb Rainier, and the myriad other mountains in the Pacific Northwest, using his own skills and without the need for guides. He graduated from Basic Climbing at the Tacoma branch in 2007 and immediately went on to Intermediate Climbing which was the gateway to many years of fun and challenging climbing with friends. He served on various climbing committees, and was known and appreciated for his patient and supportive teaching demeanor.  

Though self-described as somewhat of a curmudgeon, Ben was a champion of egalitarianism, fairness, and social equality as demonstrated by his time in the Peace Corps, his service as a public defender and his support of such organizations as the Southern Poverty Law Center and Planned Parenthood. His love for beer was legendary and he became a home brewer of some renown, evidenced by multiple blue ribbons at the Puyallup Fair, and rapidly emptied Cornelius kegs at various gatherings of thirsty Mountaineers through the years. Ben’s love of beer and for the Carolina Tarheels was surpassed only by his love and devotion to his wife Lori, parents, brothers, sister, nephews and nieces. 

The Mountaineers was honored to receive a tremendously generous donation of $10,000 in memory of Ben. The donor asked that his gift be used to ensure that those who may want to venture outdoors but lack the means or the skills are given the opportunity to learn, explore and challenge themselves—just as Ben loved to do.


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