It’s impossible to encapsulate a man of so many words in a few paragraphs, but here goes.
After a brief illness, on the longest day of the year, Chris Millspaugh took his final curtain call surrounded by family and friends at St. Luke's Wood River. Chris was born on Aug. 26, 1941 to Clarence Arthur Millspaugh and Elva Abbett Millspaugh, in Mount Carroll, Illinois. After high school, Chris attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C., before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force in 1961. Following an honorable discharge, Chris shifted gears, using his natural talents and began working in sales, becoming Clarol “Salesman of the Year” in 1968.
Music and comedy are what brought the Millspaughs to the Wood River Valley, performing at the Holiday Inn in Ketchum (now Thunder Spring) in 1974 with his family and band, which included Stacy Rider and Gene Reppond. After completing engagements in Spokane and Twin Falls, the gang moved to Ketchum permanently in 1976, and Chris began a life of leisure as a Man About Town. He devised, originated and produced “The Whoop Show” at The Kneadery in 1977 (which he revamped in the 90s at the nexStage Theater). He always had a joke or two in his pocket, so he also began writing a weekly humor column in the Idaho Mountain Express titled “The Way I See It,” which ran until 2014. He wrote for the Wood River Journal, The County Times (Bellevue), and was the editor of the Sun Valley Magazine. He also wrote and distributed a parody of the local happenings known as “The Blatant County News,” which he revised in 2014 in the Weekly Sun.
While all of this was going on, he also had a radio show, “All My Bummers,” on KECH and KSKI; a drive-time radio show with his granddaughter, Crystal; annually announced the Wagon Days and Trailing of the Sheep parades; was the director of The Community Library’s Regional History Department; worked for a time at the SNRA; and authored and co-wrote several books, including self publishing the masterpiece “The Way I See It, Vol. 1 - The Greatest Hits.”
Chris knew that taking a step backwards after a step forward was not a disaster, it was more like a cha-cha. And while dancing wasn’t really his cup of tea, Chris was active in local theater, which included his interactive event play, “The Big Hitch.” Never one to sit on his laurels, he also released a Christmas album with his sons: “A Spa Family Christmas.”
Chris liked to say he was a Big City man that moved to a small cabin in the woods. He adored sports, especially his beloved Seattle Mariners. He was an avid outdoorsman and would walk miles everyday. Of course, Miles was his cat, and he rarely left his porch.
Chris left a legacy in the Valley both in person and in print. He is survived by his sister, Pat (Rick) of Pennsylvania; his five children, Mark, Harry, Sarah, Liz and Emily; and grandchildren, Crystal, Drake, Hannah, Mason, Sailor, P.J., and Cameron.
A celebration of Dr. Spa’s life (or Spalapalooza, if you will) will be held in September.