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Local Legend Moves On – Benjamin “Buddy” Muller

The Sierra community celebrates the life of a true mountain man – Benjamin “Buddy” Muller – 1935 to 2018.

This pioneering story begins on a wooded creek in Coarsegold, Calif., where Buddy and his three brothers grew up living above the Golden Nugget Bar that their parents owned. Childhood was full of fishing, hunting, and all the rugged adventures expected from a handsome local boy.

Buddy’s entrepreneurial spirit, sheer brawn, and love of the outdoors drew him to work as a timber falling contractor. His natural leadership abilities and dogged work ethic quickly earned Buddy the opportunity to start his own booming business (Sunrise Tree). Local lore has it that Buddy singlehandedly fell over 1.7 billion board feet of timber and to this day still holds the one-day record for production at 100 truckloads!

His renowned logging career stretched over four decades where Buddy walked more than 90 percent of the Sierra forests. Most important to Buddy was his ability to mentor and positively shape the lives of countless young men and their descendants. So many of these people have lived and pattern themselves after this big-hearted lumberjack.

While growing his logging career, Buddy married Carol Beall and had two children, Monica Van Loon and (the late) Mitchell Muller.

His children were always his ultimate source of pride. When talking about his family and cherished memories, Buddy loved to share the tales of how he and Mary Lou “Lulu” Finley cleared Ducey’s dance floor in Bass Lake with their dynamic dance moves. In a tribute to family and respect, Buddy and Lulu were able to meld a 40-year relationship of love with the amalgamation of their two families becoming one.

Buddy remained a local celebrity of the Sierras and passed down a mammoth knowledge of mountain history in his later years. Senior life was full of hands-on projects focusing on his land in Oakhurst and Raymond, beating treasured friends at “liars dice,” spreading the gospel of the Grand Old Party, and even bowling a perfect 300 game!

Buddy’s legacy is carried on by his daughter and son-in-law Monica and Paul Van Loon, as well as Lori Burnett; grandchildren Katie Van Loon, Mitchell Van Loon, Terry Avery and husband Todd Avery, Lacey Weiszbrod and husband Patrick Perez, Landon Weiszbrod, Aubrey Hurst and husband Artu Arin, and Austen Hurst; and great-grandchildren Grayson Avery and Aerith Barnes.

Graveside services are being held on Friday, Aug. 31, at 2 p.m. in the Oakhurst Cemetery followed by a 3 p.m. Celebration of Life at Fresno Flats Historical Park.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Buddy’s honor to the Eastern Madera County SPCA or the American Lung Association.

One comment

  1. Honoring a man who gave so much to our family. He gave my dad an opportunity to log for many many years. Our summers as kids were spent in places like cooks station and I’ll always remember the many men who were truly hard workers who would begin their days before sunrise. Buddy Muller was a kind man and truly cared about his workers and their family’s. He will always be regarded as our friend.

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