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Elizabeth Koltiska

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A blazing light in so many of our lives was extinguished on February 11, 2024, when Elizabeth “Miff” Koltiska died. Her beloved husband, Mark, was by her side.

Born in Sheridan, Wyoming, on March 6, 1959, to Chick and Frickie Galey, Miff and her brother, Frank, were raised at the family’s place in Big Horn. There, she spent most of her time on horseback and, in the summer, irrigating the hayfields. After graduating from Big Horn High School, Miff attended Eastern Wyoming Community College on a basketball scholarship and received her Associate degree in Applied Science. In 1980, she went on a rodeo scholarship to Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas. There, she competed on the rodeo team as a goat tyer, breakaway, and team roper, notching second in the 1980 National College Rodeo in goat tying. Miff graduated in 1981 with her Bachelor of Science degree. Not long after returning to Sheridan from college, Miff met Mark Koltiska at a party. Mark was immediately interested, but Miff made him work for her time. Appreciating a challenge, Mark went to Colorado, where she was working with racehorses, and enticed her to return home. After dating for a few years, Miff and Mark set a date for their wedding – April 28, 1984.

Anyone alive in Sheridan County at that time knows that April 26 and 27 brought the legendary blizzard that buried the area in multiple feet of snow drifts. Not to be outdone by Mother Nature, Mark and an army of snowmobiles and tractors dug out the Koltiska place on Cat Creek and the Galey’s drive so the families could make it to St. Peter’s for the wedding that wouldn’t be postponed. Her dad dubbed the event “The Bride Wore Snowshoes,” and Miff became a Koltiska that day. Though they couldn’t have had more different interests (horsepower for Mark and horses for Miff), they shared an unshakeable bond of love, respect, and laughter that got them through nearly 40 years of marriage. Seemingly born in the saddle, Miff was the best friend a horse or person could have. She would do anything for anyone, no questions asked. The definition of a ‘top hand,’ Miff was always the first call for anyone needing help gathering, vaccinating, branding, doctoring, shipping, and all other activities bovine and equine. She’s also been a generous source of information and advice for those who have little to no experience with either.

If she wasn’t riding one of her favorite horses across the thousands of acres surrounding their place, Miff was in the Big Horn Mountains. To experience the mountains with Miff was to see her reverence and appreciation for the natural world as if she were seeing it for the first time, every time. No matter the weather, the mosquitos, or the dust, Miff was always excited and happy to be there with her people, marveling at the spectacular vistas. Whether it was one of Mark and Miff’s myriad trips to Kearny Lake via 4-wheeler, on horseback to Willow Park, camping with the Billings crew by Little Goose Creek, outfishing everyone, or hunting wild mushrooms, she was in her element and soaking up every second. Miff’s joy for life was infectious, and her love for her friends and family was all-encompassing. Known as “Work Mom” and “Mama Bear” by her many fans, Miff’s sense of humor, blinding smile, and patient kindness were her trademarks.

Though she has left us behind, we know she’s been reunited with her parents, her favorite horses, Killer and Henry, and her adored dogs. Miff is survived by her treasured husband, Mark, her brother, Frank Galey (Donna) of Big Horn, numerous nieces and nephews, and countless friends.

In place of flowers, the family requests memorials be given to The Hub on Smith. A celebration of life will be held for Miff on March 10 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Sheridan County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall. Everyone is welcome. Online condolences may be written at Kane Funeral Home has been entrusted with local arrangements.



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    Daniel Diefenderfer

    February 12, 2024 at 1:55 pm

    Miff was a friend of mine, she know more and had forgotten. More then most people knew. she loved her dogs, and her cows, Am so sorry for your loss she will be missed. But she will be in our hearts forever. I pray that the lord will comfort you and all who knew her. I prayed daily that the lord would heal her. or lord is a mighty God. Now she is in the lords arms!

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      Sue Howell

      February 28, 2024 at 10:53 am

      Mark, sorry to hear of Miffs passing. You are in thoughts and prayers.
      Sue Connolly-Howell

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    Mike fordyce

    March 1, 2024 at 4:41 am

    Miffed we a awesome person always had a smile and a nice something to my condolences to her family prayers for all

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    John F. Arambel

    March 3, 2024 at 6:20 pm

    Miff and Mark were some of the first people I met once I settled in on Prairie Dog Creek. (1996) If I was working outside Miff would stop and make sure all was good! The news across the State of Wyoming was shared however briefly, and on she would go!

    She will be missed as a true neighbor. She asked for nothing and would give you everything!

    My prayers to all her family, especially Mark!

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    Sam Morton

    March 4, 2024 at 1:13 am

    Miff was an institution among the local ag community. She was as good a horseman and person and friend as I’ve ever known. My condolences to Mark and Frank. Rest in peace old friend.

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    Mike Perry

    March 10, 2024 at 8:26 am

    You were always a light and joy my dear aunt Miff to me and everyone around you and this prayer is for you…

    Interesting this cycle of life that we go through… as I feel myself aging and I watch my friends and families pass away…
    Prayer for Today
    Dear Lord As I walk through this life I’m reminded by Your Word that my days are a shadow that’s here one moment and gone the next. That could be a heavy truth Lord but I know it’s not meant to discourage me. Instead, I feel You calling me to lean into Your wisdom, to trust in Your understanding above my own. in Jesus name amen..
    Well my friend I have found joy in this life through Jesus…. I hope you have to when you know the meaning, the purpose, and the hope that carries us from this fleeting life into eternity..
    Psalm 16:11
    “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

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