John P. Mueller |

John P. Mueller

Contributed report
Aspen, CO Colorado

John P. Mueller, 78, educator and mountain climber, passed away at a local nursing home May 9, 2008.

Although he had lived with Parkinson’s disease for many years, his life changed forever when he was hit by a car while riding his bicycle in September 2002, an accident from which he never recovered. His remains were given to the Colorado State Anatomical Board for medical education.

As a historian, he taught at Fort Collins High School, other public schools, and Aims Community College in Greeley, teaching for 32 years.

While education was his profession, his love was mountaineering. John was a seasonal United States Forest Service ranger and Rocky Mountain National Park protection ranger. As a park ranger, he led many technical rescues in the Bear Lake District. Always concerned about mountain safety, he and five other men co-founded the volunteer Aspen Search and Rescue group in Aspen. He took great delight in developing equipment and techniques for mountain rescues of the late 1950s and early1960s.

During the Korean conflict, he was in the Army’s Nike Missile division.

He was a member of various mountain and conservation organizations and an educational union negotiator. John was a volunteer fire fighter and served on the Baca Grande Property Owners’ Board in Crestone. He was also a member of the local vocal group, singing bass.

In addition to mountaineering, his hobbies included researching historical matters, woodworking, building and Jeeping. Occasionally he would write prose about topics he felt strongly about. Classical music brought him great pleasure. He cured his own Volkswagen repair habit. He was always ready to lend a hand.

John was truly a Renaissance man.

John was the only son of Hans F. and Laura Mueller, of Cleveland, Ohio, now deceased. His sisters, Ilse and Carol, predeceased him. He is survived by his wife, Ellie (Camden); his son, Hans; his daughter-in-law Dorte; his grandsons, Oliver and Jakob; his sister, Darya; and two other sons, Rolf and Kurt, by an earlier marriage.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the National Parkinson Foundation (