Somewhere on a high ridge in the Wyoming Range, I lost a great friend and mentor. Worse, all of Wyoming lost a leader, a friend and a role model.
Myles McGinnis was Wyoming. He was bold and reserved, contemplative and passionate, deliberate and spontaneous. He was dedicated to the past and encouraging of the future. Along with his wife Corby, they gave and gave and gave – to community, family, agriculture and the environment of Wyoming.
Myles was one of those people who led from the middle, seeking to find common ground, a visionary man who truly understood that the world would not be best served by radical thought. He was a calm, intelligent voice who sought to include new thoughts and ideas. At the same time, he was practical to the extreme, capable of balancing risk with reward. When Myles spoke, people listened.
Myles McGinnis was the epitome of a gentleman. He remembered people, and he remembered their history. He cared about others, and it showed in his face when you spoke to him. It showed even more when he spoke to you. Myles would rarely express his opinion dogmatically – instead, he would ask for your thoughts first, then share his own. Those conversations might last for months.
The Diamond H Ranch will live on, and the family will continue a long legacy of caring for the land, water, wildlife and livestock on Fontenelle Creek. They will continue to be leaders in conservation and agriculture. Myles and Corby lived and breathed and taught the things that are most important.
For the rest of us, we would do well to think about the loss to Wyoming. We have less than half-a-million people in our state, so the loss of a man like Myles McGinnis is almost exponential. Few have been so strong, so passionate and balanced, so willing to learn and adapt to inevitable change. Fewer have done so with the absolute confidence and charm of a true colleague like Myles McGinnis.
My heart aches for his family, though I know his legacy will live on. My heart aches for my loss of a dear friend and mentor, which is selfish. Mostly, my heart aches for Wyoming. We can only hope to make more people like Myles McGinnis by being more like him.
Go with God, Myles. You made a huge difference in my life, as well as in those of many others who never got to know you. We are all much better for those many things you did so quietly, so patiently, so passionately.
Bob Budd, Executive Director, Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust Cheyenne