Email Traffic regarding the passing of Ben Miller - SMIGT Member and former UDLP/BAE Employee:

(Click here for the tournament website).

#1) - Paul received a phone message Monday morning at 9AM from Phil Kuechenmeister that Ben had passed on Sunday Feb 21 at 11:05 PM in Arizona with his wife Carol at his side.

#2) - Paul Called Phil and got more details on the loss of Ben. Paul wanted to send an email message to the SMIGT Members who golfed in Brainerd for years with Ben.

#3) - Paul called Dave Serie, SMIGT Chairman, and passed the news of Ben's passing and talked some of last year's Madden's and seeing Ben play for the last time. The Chairman wept openly and took it very hard.

#4) - Paul Crafted an Email to send the SMIGT Golfing comrades to notify the passing of Ben Miller. It is as follows:

Dear SMIGT brothers,

This morning I got an email from Phil Kuechenmeister and was informed that Ben "Gentle Ben" Miller succumbed to Cancer at 11:05PM on Sunday February 21, 2021. Ben was 68 years young and is survived by his wife Carol. They resided in Green Valley, Arizona for the past 6 years and Ben was retired for about 10 years.

Ben was a gregarious fellow who got his money's worth out of life. He was a dad, with two daughters, and was married to his second wife Carol (Big Red) for more than 10 years. Ben and Carol provided great hospitality to some of the SMIGT Men who often played a tune up round at Ben's course (Pine River) in Motley, Mn before SMIGT began. Then the crew would get up the next day, have a good breakfast, and drive on to Madden's to begin the three days of fun. Ben had many good lines and some of his best were: 1) "There is one in there for you" and 2) Sarah - Sarah - "Sarah another beer in there for me"? And who knows how many countless other memories we have of our brother Ben?

I know that we all have a heavy heart today. Please reflect on the good times you had with Ben and I think that Ben would be happy if we all remembered the good times. I was so happy that Ben won the SMIGT title and got his name on the coveted SMIGT traveling trophy. He overcame the chipping yips that year and he was able to make it all the way. I remember the two foot knee knocker on #18 that he had to make to close out the title. What a joyous celebration it was. Whenever I see Sam Elliott in a movie I think of Ben, as he had that same gravelly voice as Sam.

Please respond to all on this email with any stories that you may have of Gentle Ben. This will help all of us get through this together.

Take care and keep the faith,
The Professor
PS: - I attached one of my favorite Madden's pictures of Ben and I think it captures the essence of the man:

decorative image

#5) - From Petey Serie at 11:53 AM:

Golly Pork... tears are on my keyboard now brother!! We always knew it would come... That Skinny lil fart had more smoke... no pun here... than most Bruisers I Know! Fighting Spirit is what kept him going this long!! Golly.. cannot comment now.. but, will carry his spirit with me today... God be with Ben!! The real McCoy is resting now.. xxx Much love... Viper......

#6) - From Petey Serie at 11:54AM:

Man... this hit me hard my brother! Thank you so much for the write up.. it means alot to all us Brothers!! One more down... Lordy .. Love, Viper

#7) - From Greg Miller at 11:55 AM:

Hello SMIGT brothers; what a very sad day for us all as we lose yet another member of this prestigious group.

Ben was like a brother from another mother to me; we were roomies for many, many years and he was such a joy to be around. I did not know that he was this close to the great golf course in the sky. It is with a very heavy heart that I bid him farewell, he will be truly missed!!

I do remember when he won the tourney, he was up by 1 at 18 and he left his tee shot just short of the green. Somehow he hit the most marvelous chip shot that ended up less than 2 feet from the cup, and then he knee-knocked it in for the win.

I will pray for Carol as she mourns the loss of our beloved Ben.

If you're in to toasting the man, swig a little Johnny Walker Black in his honor the next time you're able to visit your favorite drinking hole!!

With deep deep sympathy;


#8) - From Jamie Larson at 11:58AM

It's a sad story about Biggie... it's a great story about Benji.
He will be missed.

#9) - From Petey Serie at 11:59AM:

Very well put Wilbert..... For sure tonite I will pull out the good stuff and think of our lil guy who is resting now.. We all have to stick together now for sure!! wow... God Bless him... xxxxxx Viper

#10 - From Petey Serie at 12:01 PM:

Yes... I knew that would hit him hard brother!! Ben was just one of a kind... and everyone loved him for what he was! Golly sad.....

#11) - From Dave Serie at 12:01 PM:

When Paul called me this morning with this news of Benji passing, I remembered this last SMIGT where Ben made the trek from Arizona and participated in the 36th annual. A strong man.

At the awards after in the ballroom I remember thanking some folks for coming and when I got to Ben for traveling one of the farthest, I looked at him and I got choked up, because down in my stomach I was thinking this may be his last SMIGT. So when Paul called this am I got the same choked up feeling. He wanted to come back last year because maybe he knew something. And he evidently did. He was a unique man who made you feel good around him.


We all will miss you!! I will be having maybe more than one salute tonight to YOU at the Bahama Breeze!!


#12) - From Jamie Larson at 12:08 PM:

This is a sad day. Although I didn't know Benji outside of the SMIGT, I did play alongside and against him many times. Skinny guy was one of the toughest competitors I ever played! He was a joy to be by and grateful I was able to play with him last year. I picked a good one (pic) from the past as one of my fav's...

#13) - From Keith Howe - 12:12 PM:

RIP Benji. You will be missed.

#14) - From Rick Bartels at 12:26 PM:

To All,

Yes Benji was quite the man!

I just dug out the bottle rockets he bought me on his journey from Arizona to Maddens last year.

He gave me this bag of rockets and said "now these are bottle rockets"

They are 10 times the size of those little bottle rockets I used to shoot off after a birdie in the foursome.

I will set off one at 11:05 tonight and save the rest for Maddens this year.

Benji you will be missed !!


#15) - From Jim Schoppenhorst at 12:29PM:

Truly a sad day. I think I was one of the guys Ben took down the year he won. He was especially tough that year (2015) and always fun to play with no matter who was winning. Rest In Peace Benji!

#16) From - Don McCormick at 1:04PM:

Any news about a service? I'd drive down and represent the group


#17) From - Greg Miller at 1:40 PM:

Paul; do you have Carol's cell number? I need to call her and talk about Ben and their 2020 tax returns.


#18) - from Bill Bonin at 1:45 PM:

Sorry to hear about Ben. He was a fun guy.

#19) - From Paul Bussman on Mon, Feb 22, 2021 at 12:55 PM:


Please let Halvor know when you are able to.


#20) - from - Rick Bartels at 1:55PM:

Will do.

#21) From - Phil Kuechenmeister at 2:28PM:

SMIGT Brothers,

I know I'm not one of SMIGT family but just thought I would fill you in on a few things.

If you wish to send a remembrance to Carol "Red", please email me for her address.

For those of you who were close to Ben and Carol and wish to give her a call, please email me for her number. (Brother Will, I'm sure she would like to hear from you.) I was down there for two weeks in late January. Benji and I did get several of rounds in one last time. While it was clearly a struggle for him, he didn't give up till the very end. I too will miss my brother from another mother. Lynn and I are heading down to be with Carol in the next day or two. When she is ready I will share all of you good thoughts and comments with her.


#22) From - Petey Serie at 2:32 PM:

Phil, that is very thoughtful of you to send this info!! Many thanks and let us know how Carol is when you go west... Viper...

#23) From - Paul Bussmann at 2:38PM:

Could be a good candidate to replace Brother Ben - Needs to put on some weight though to keep up with some of "The Brutes" - Black Label for all my friends !!

#24) From - Petey Serie at 2:44PM:

Yes sir... He is really the best! But, you are right.. he has to hang with the Bison family for a month or two.. He'd be good to hit the Jack Pines?? Large will train him right!! Crush lil Philly Dog! I have some old hair of the dog up in my ice box... Will crack it tonite for our lil friend that has passed on .... Wow!! Remember, none of us live forever... let us enjoy while we still can.... AAaaayyyeeee!! Love, Viper

#25) - from Greg Johnson (MIXXER) at 3:06 PM:

A final "Salute" to Benji! I will hoist one in his honor. I only knew Ben a few short years, but I did have the honor of playing against him in 2 of the 3 years. The old Hockey player, I remember how he used to angle his big old Tee in the ground and crank on it! May he Rest In Peace, Mixxer

#26) From - Bill Meisterling at 3:25PM:

PGB, Thanks for keeping me in the loop. So sorry to learn about Ben's passing. One of the legendary "Miller Brothers" taken from us far too soon! Although I never had the pleasure of playing in a golf league with him, I remember what he brought to our company golf outings and hanging out with him and other colleagues at HH and social gatherings and also recall my time working with him and Davison and Rich Willows. Good times! This terrible, horrific disease we know as cancer has taken far, far too many lives. Just recently the legendary Rush Limbaugh. Not to mention many friends and relatives of mine. My own Mom continues to battle her stage IV lung cancer and it breaks my heart and frustrates me to no end that there is nothing I can do directly to stop it. I have been donating to the cause(s) Cancer and Lung Associations and foundations. Do you know what type of cancer Ben had? I would like to donate to the cause if possible.

Aha, Bill

#27) - from Warren Brennan at 3:31 PM:

God bless Benny he will be missed. He was from the class of 70 with Will and me. We all would have been 69 this year.

He was a great friend and Carol and Benny were great hosts to us for many years.

Rest in peace Benny we know you are in a better place. Johhny Walker for all of my brothers at Maddens this year.

Rest in peace Benny. Walt

#28) - from Mike Loge at 4:38PM:

So glad I had the chance to visit with Ben when he played with us at Columbia last season.


#29) From - Al Sunnarborg at 4:47PM:

This a sad time for all SMIGT brothers. I remember many, many good times with brother Benji. Many times he would say

"let them other guys go eat" and "you want a heater?" We would stay behind and have an extra beer and a smoke. Ben knew alot about alot. There weren't many subject that he avoided.

I surely will tip a few for a fallen brother and prayers and well wishes for the family left behind.


Al Sunnarborg aka Largieeee

#30) From Kent Cool - 5:36 PM:

Benji was indeed a tough competitor on the golf course. I was in the final with him the year he won, and he just kept hitting it right down the middle hole after hole. We came down to the last hole with him 1 up. He hit a short tee shot, but then he chipped it to within inches. After he hit that shot I turned and shook his hand to concede the match, and I said, Congrats, your name is on the trophy! He got a big smile on his face and said, "Finally!"

It always stings when you lose a final match, but I am glad that Ben won that day. I know it meant a lot to him. And he deserved it.

RIP Ben.......


Kent Cool

#31 - from Chris Sorenson at 7:14 PM:

Oh dear Lord this is just too terribly sad! I have so many vivid memories of Ben, who genuinely defined the phrase "larger than life!" When he first joined TEGL, I'd watch in astonishment as he hit his three iron 225 - 235, time after time, off the GROUND! And this was back in the days of rubber band golf balls! How he left his driver locked in his trunk, for YEARS! His crazy annual Kansas hunting trips stories! When he told his wife upon their divorce "for the first time since we met now I know what you'll cost me every month!" His brutal honesty at the weekly Crusader "Critical Path" meetings (Benji was director of Crusader Software Test and Integration, by far the toughest job on the program.) I remember meeting Carol at the SMIGT 20th Edinburgh pre-event - and telling Benji "now I know why you're so happy all the time!" Sitting up till sunrise on his back patio quaffing Johnny Walker Black and huffing down heaters, then bagging an hour of sleep before bolting to Maddens for the Calcutta. The beautiful garden he tended in his front yard while Carol was off on her four-day Target work week. Standing around the beer wagon 'til midnight trading horror stories about having to write software in, ugh, FORTRAN! Him turning me down a thousand times when I offered him a cigar:

"Hey Ben, how about one of these?"

"Nah. Maybe later..."

"Okay. How 'bout now?"

(Wry grin from Ben).

So now I am heartbroken, I truly and honestly love the man and I ain't afraid who knows it...

#32) From - Greg Miller at 8:36 PM:

Just got home, poured a glass of Johnny Walker on the rocks as a toast to our fallen comrade. God bless you Ben, you're in a better place now!!

Brother Will

#33) From - Paul Bussmann at 8:43 PM:

Thanks to all of the SMIGT Brothers who have responded today. I think Ben would be very happy that we are sharing our memories of him with each other.

I may grab and put them into a Word Document: for Carol to have for posterity.

About now - Heartbeat is bumming a smoke off him, Myron Nietzel (AKA Ham burglar) is providing Ben a free hamburger, and Clarence Baldy (The Duke) is providing a mixed drink of Windsor coke for Ben. They are ready to tee off soon and they will be telling SMIGT stories and watching over us as we go about our daily business.

Don't laugh because I think there is a "SMIGT Heaven" and I hear they have a hell of a band (To paraphrase the Righteous Brothers song - "Rock and Roll Heaven")

RIP Brother Ben - Professor

#34) From Petey Serie at 8:59AM on 2/23/21:

Very well put, Whipster!! Last night as I had a J W rocks... I was flashing back on all the history of our 3 days in the Jack Pines over the years... it is just a dream.... But, a very nice memory to have !! God bless my Maddens brothers.. and RIP... Duke, Heart Beat... Hamburgler, Rescue me guy... Wow !! We never know who will be next... and that, my old friends... Is a GOOD thing ! Salute... much love..... Viper of the North....

#35) From Petey Serie - 9:00 AM:

P S... Phil.... I know you have never joined our Ragged Crew... but, now you are one of us.... Like it or not old boy !!! xxxxx Viper. Thank you for being a true friend to Benji and his family.... means alot......

#36) From Dave Serie at 9:04 AM:

Phil, I would like to send a nice arrangement of flowers to the mortuary for Benji from the SMIGT Nation. I know they will probably want any money that comes in to go to cancer research etc and that can still happen, but I think a nice flower arrangement is always nice as most of the SMIGT nation won't be able to be there. If you could let me know the address and details of funeral I would appreciate.

If you would like to be part of that flower arrangement I will put you on the card.

Thank You Philly Dog and thank you for going down to Arizona to be there for Carol, I know you guys were always very close and am she sure will appreciate.


#37) From Jason Warnke at 9:10 AM:

As unluck would have it, I only got to play with Benji one or two times over the years, but luckily I got to spend enough years with the man up at Madden's to get to know him a little off the course. Truly a gem of a guy; I'm a better person for having known him and learned from him, especially from his approach to life over the last few years as his illness was taking a toll on him. RIP Ben.

#38) From Keith Howe at 9:33 AM:

Count me in Chairman

#39) From Don McCormick at 11:13 AM:

What to say about such a standup guy? A real competitor but always a gentleman ...except when go-karting, he was a maniac! So many years together at Maddens with so many memories. Somehow he always managed to fly below the radar and stay out of trouble, unlike many others... We really appreciated that Ben made the effort to travel from Arizona to be with the gang and he will be missed by all of us. RIP Ben!