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Milo was born to Erwin (Mustang) and Marie Smith on June 3, 1931, in Winnemucca, Nev., and grew up on a ranch in Denio, Nev. He attended high school in Winnemucca, graduating in 1951. He spent his younger years running cattle on the infamous White Horse Ranch before enlisting in the Navy. He served his country during the Korean War from 1951 through 1954, and was awarded medals for National Defense and Korean Service.
Milo acquired acreage in Pagosa Springs on U.S. 160 in the late 1950s and spent years running hunting camps. He married his soul mate, Neva Harris, in 1959 and they lived in Golden, Colo., Mesa, Ariz., and Richland, Mo., before finally settling in Pagosa Springs in 1988, where they built a home together, log by log. They’d had three children and were married 41 years when Neva died in 2000.
Milo was a gregarious and fun-loving man. He lived life to the fullest, leaving a legacy of memories for many people. He loved chariot racing, and was one of the chariot racers in the movie, “Ben Hur.” When the movie “The Cowboys” was filmed partly in Pagosa Springs, he supplied horses and found a friend in John Wayne. He had a particular fondness for mules, dating back to childhood when his grandfather drove a 20-mule team for Borax. Milo was known for his artistic welding prowess, loved to fish, and also loved to cook. He was infamous for his sourdough bread; the keeper of a starter that came across Wolf Creek Pass in 1916.
Milo was preceded in death by his parents and wife, sisters Barbara Hoffendorff and Kathryn (Dixie) Weikel, and brothers Vern and Earl (Bud) Smith.
He is survived by his children, Anna Marie (Troy) Guckenberg, Laveen, Ariz; Nathan Edward Smith, Pagosa Springs; Shannon Joann (Jon) Kinder, Elk City, Okla., and Verle Smith, Portland, Ore. Sisters Helen Felt, Salem, Ore., Venie Morgan, Burns, Ore., and grandchildren Erin Guckenberg, Laveen, Ariz.; Cheyenne Smith and Braden Kinder, Elk City, Okla. Numerous nieces and nephews including Neal Smith of Pagosa Springs, lifelong friend, Bill Dansbee, Pagosa Springs, and longtime girlfriend, Allie Mifflin, Bayfield, Colo.
Cremation has occurred. His ashes will be interred in Denio, Nev. A Milo Smith memorial cookout is planned for July 4, 2014, at his residence, which is being kept in the family.
Donations may be made in his name to the American Legion or Veterans Association.