July 9, 1938-May 26, 2020
Benjamin “Benjy” C. Kuehling III was born in Baltimore, Maryland on July 9,1938, the son of Maebelle and Benjamin C. Kuehling, Jr., and grandson of Washington DC Police Captain Benjamin C. Kuehling. Benjy grew up in various places as his family moved around, from Seattle, Washington to Coos Bay, Oregon to Southgate, California and Denver, Colorado.
After developing an avid interest in minerals during his youth, he bought his first building in Ouray in 1966 and established Columbine Mineral Shop. He built and started the Columbine Gifts & Jewelry store with wife Liz in 1979. Both stores are still owned and managed by the family.
A keen collector, Colorado mineral specimens were a favorite amongst his many acquisitions. He loved exploring the local San Juan Mountains to find new items to add to his showcases. Antique cars, mining memorabilia, clocks, pocket watches and guns also were also part of his collecting interests.
He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Elizabeth “Liz” Spangler Kuehling; daughter Lauri Kuehling Zembower and husband Christian; son Benjamin C. Kuehling IV; and sister Victoria Poland and husband Jeffrey.
A private graveside service was held at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Ouray where he was buried in view of his beloved mountains.
Donations may be made to the Ouray County Historical Society.