Hettie Miller


ike her husband Bob, Hettie kept a detailed record of their years in the park and its vicinity dating from the 1950s. Key entries pertinent to the natural history of Wells Gray Park appear here: xxx

Here are some words of appreciation for Hettie written by her niece, Hettie Buck:

Mom and Aunt Hettie came from a family of seven siblings. Having grown up during the Depression, they knew nothing else other than hard work and the fact they were raised to be women who could and would do anything a man could do. They were also riveters during the war

Our Uncle Bob Miller was quite the legend in Wells Gray Park and the North Thompson, known as a Johnny Appleseed of his time. Whether trees or plants, he honed the ability to graft trees, cross-pollinate or section flowers and develop a hybrid of specialty squash, seeds of which are still circulating in the region. He often spoke about how disappointing it was to be turned away when trying to enlist due to having flat feet, such a strange thought considering this man walked and hiked everywhere he went until finally learning to drive in his 40s! His feet didn’t matter at home in the bush. There weren’t many that could match his stamina and strength back in the day and those stories still circulate when speaking of him.

Uncle Bob was a powerfully confident man and as he told us through his many life tales, did his part as best he could in the valley providing meat and bear fat to many women on their own, raising families, whose husbands had been sent overseas. Bear lard was prized as it has no odour and was used for cooking and especially for baking. Uncle Bob was an amazing fisherman and with his skills, he provided for many in the way of fish, game, vegetables and huge fields of berries that were shipped via train from Clearwater to market.

Aunt Hettie and Uncle Bob Miller’s nursery was a gorgeous, lush and thriving place that attracted many in the valley to come for trees, plants, shrubs, fruit and flowers or watch the annual painted turtle migration. Visitors would often stay, lounging on the lawns near their little lake, learning about birds and butterflies from Aunt Het or hearing tall tales, nibbling Uncle Bob’s deluxe caramel, or wandering through the walls of flowers like his spectacular peonies, poppies, irises, and lovingly pruned trees. There was wood-stove black tea, with canned milk and honey or sometimes a splash of something extra added in on a cold day, next to the warmth of the fire.