Cortez City Council member Tim Miller has died after his second year in government.
The 69-year-old Cortez resident was elected to the City Council in 2016 for a four-year term. During his time on the council, he was involved in several major decisions, including the approval of the Southwest Memorial Hospital remodel and other new construction projects, endorsing a new airline for the Cortez Municipal Airport and the creation of a public art advisory board. He died Wednesday at his home in Cortez, Kinsey Ertel of Ertel Funeral Home said.
Fellow council member Jill Carlson, who was elected the same year as Miller, described Miller as a dedicated man who considered his council position a “new career.”
“He was always prepared for meetings and took time to research areas he was not familiar with before making decisions,” she said in a written statement. “He was not a complacent city councilor, and he will be missed.”
Mayor Karen Sheek, City Manager Shane Hale and Cortez marketing and events manager Jon Brooks declined to comment until the city released an official statement on Miller’s death sometime after New Year’s Day.
“Out of respect for the family and letting them grieve, we will hold off on saying anything until next week,” Brooks said.
A former electrician, Miller emphasized his desire to support existing local businesses and encourage new ones to move into the area during his campaign for City Council.
After he was elected, he consistently voted for measures that would let businesses expand, such as an ordinance that allows restaurants to apply for licenses to serve alcohol on city-owned streets.
He approved numerous design plans and liquor licenses for new businesses, and was among the council members who voted to endorse Boutique Air as Cortez’s new primary airline.
He supported many of the downtown construction projects that began or were completed in 2017, including the last steps in a remodel of the new City Hall. He also voted for the ordinance that created the city’s new public art advisory committee in October.
At his last council meeting, on Nov. 28, he helped to finalize the city’s draft budget for 2018.
In addition to the City Council, Miller was on the board of directors for the Montezuma Community Economic Development Association.
Miller’s death will leave a third vacancy on the City Council, where two term-limited members, Bob Archibeque and Shawna McLaughlin, will be leaving in 2018.
Miller, a Vietnam veteran, was born in Akron, Ohio, on April 9, 1948, according to his obituary. He also lived in Southern California, where he met his wife, Jo Anna Hamblin, and raised their daughters Wendy Lee Miller (Eytchison) and Hattie Ann Miller.
He and his wife moved returned to Cortez area in 1993, his obituary said. Jo Anna Miller died just over two months ago, on Oct. 11, 2017.
Miller is survived by two daughters, Wendy Eytchison and Hattie Miller, and four grandchildren.
Miller’s family invites the public to join them in honoring his memory on Jan. 27 at 3 p.m. at Cortez City Hall, 123 Roger Smith Ave.