Edwin Koecher, Building and Grounds Director at Camp Miller 1957-1975

Growing up, Tony Koecher loved visiting his grandparents, Edwin and Bernice Koecher, who lived and worked at YMCA Camp Miller in Sturgeon Lake, Minn. Back then, Camp Miller had a farm program and kept horses onsite. Tony treasured the weekends he spent traveling from the Twin Cities to visit his grandparents and participate in the activities at camp, like riding horses.

Edwin worked at Camp Miller from 1957 to 1975 as the maintenance supervisor, while Bernice worked in the dining and mess hall. Now, as Camp Miller’s Building and Grounds Director, Tony recognizes his grandfather’s handiwork and craftsmanship on many of the buildings. “My grandpa was a carpenter, a fix-it person,” Tony shared. “He built a bunch of the cabins that we still use today—a lot of the fireplaces are his work.”

Tony worked at Camp Heartland for 22 years. He always thought it would be incredible to continue his grandfather Edwin’s legacy by working at Camp Miller. When Greg Burns, Camp Miller’s past grounds supervisor retired, he hinted to Tony about the job.

“It’s a special place, and it really is—there is so much land, so many trees. Some of the trees that are here are some of the biggest in the state of Minnesota. I just want to do my part to see Camp Miller continue into the future and carry on the legacy,” Tony said. “I have my dream job. Some jobs you can go through life and it’s a struggle, and this job does have its challenges, but the rewards are far greater. It’s a privilege to be here.”

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Locations: Camp Miller
Category: Summer Camp