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Philip Robert Mueller

July 1, 1943 - May 18, 2016

Philip Robert Mueller passed away peacefully at home on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 after a five and a half year battle with colon cancer.  Phil was born July 1, 1943 in Minneapolis, Minnesota and grew up in Denver, Colorado.  He was the only child of Robert Frederick Mueller and Marjorie Evelyn Nelson.  Phil developed a love of broadcasting at an early age, working part-time jobs at three radio stations while in high school.  In his first real job at KLAK Radio in Lakewood, CO, a disk jockey showed him the controls, and the tape recorders and what they did, and he was hooked.  Phil developed an interest in news and over a long and storied career, he was a reporter, news editor, news director, operations manager, news correspondent, and/or consultant at a number of major market stations including: KIMN Radio, Denver, CO;KAYQ Radio, Kansas City, MO; KSL Radio and Television, Salt Lake City, UT; Bonneville International News Bureau, Washington, DC; KMBX/KMBR Radio, Kansas City, MO; WOAI Radio, San Antonio, TX; and KHOW Radio, Denver, CO.  Phil had a brilliant mind and he loved chasing a story.  A fellow television journalist said he never saw anyone who could deliver a better “stand up” on camera, without notes, than Phil Mueller. 


Phil married Mary Karen Wagnon in 1966 and joined the Air National Guard as an Information Specialist that same year.  His unit, the 120th Tactical Fighter Group, was activated in January 1968 during the Pueblo Crisis.  Phil was assigned to the 5th Air Force Headquarters in Tokyo, where he served for two years as a sergeant.  He received an Honorary Discharge from the Air Force Reserves in 1972.  Phil and Karen joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while living in Denver.  They later divorced.  Phil married his eternal sweetheart, Mary Lou Cook Hart, in the Manti Temple on September 15, 1979.  Over the years a blended family of his, hers and ours—became “theirs.” 


In 1987 Phil formed a family corporation and purchased radio station KUTA in Blanding, Utah.   Phil loved operating KUTA as the “Voice of the Canyonlands,” serving the communities of Blanding and Monticello.  In 2002 a poor economy forced Phil to sign off for the last time, which was not only devastating for him, but also for his many loyal listeners.  Within days he was selling advertising for KCYN/KCPX Radio in Moab, Utah, and not long after, Phil became general manager. He enjoyed his 150 mile round-trip commute because it gave him time to think, especially because at 2:30 a.m. when he left for work, there was little to no traffic.  Phil typically worked 14 to 15 hour days and had no intention of retiring—ever.  But on Monday May 2, after a long day, a trip to the emergency room confirmed that he would never return, despite his incredible determination.


Phil loved people.  No matter how sick or weak he was, he became animated whenever there was someone to talk to, friend or stranger.  He was a great influence in many lives for his strong testimony, his positive approach to life, and his determination to never give up.  He was the ultimate optimist and rarely complained about his failing health.  He was a humble man and could not understood why people often referred to him as their “hero.”  He cared deeply about his faithful coworkers at KCYN/KCPX, past and present, who continued to pitch in because of their loyalty and love for Phil. 


Phil received many awards and recognitions over the years, and provided much public service.  In 1977 he was elected treasurer of the National Radio and Television News Directors Association and was honored with a lifetime membership.  In 2000 he received the Journalist Advocate Award for KUTA News Radio by the Region VIII Small Business Administration.  He served on the board of the Utah Broadcasters Association.  Phil was a founding member of the San Juan Economic Development Board, serving for many years, including three years as chair.  He was a member of the Canyonlands Region Travel Council for 20 years.  Phil was a member of the Moab Rotary Club, and was elected to the board of the Moab Chamber of Commerce in 2004; he was elected as vice-president and elected as president twice.  Phil was named 2011 Citizen of the Year in Moab—even though he never lived there, and was recognized in 2015 for his “many years of dedicated service to the Moab Chamber of Commerce and the Moab business community.”  


Phil is survived by his loving eternal companion of nearly 37 years, Lou, and his children: John Mueller (Alison), Jeff Hart (Jen), Adam Mueller (Heather), Elizabeth Weilenmann (Brandon), Rebecca Mueller Kirby, Mark Mueller (Cassie); and 27 grandchildren.  He was preceded in death by two daughters, Stacey Mueller Call (Dave) and Jennifer Hart, and one daughter in law, Lisa Mueller (John).  


A visitation will be held on Monday, May 24, from 6 to 8:00 p.m., and on Tuesday, May 25, 2015, from 9 to 11:00 a.m.2016, at the Blanding Stake Center, located at 88 West 800 North in Blanding, Utah.  A funeral service will follow on May 25, 2016, at noon in the same location.


Online condolences may be shared at

Funeral Visitation Interment
Tuesday, May 24, 2016, 12:00 PM

Blanding LDS Stake Center
88 West 800 North
Blanding, Utah

Monday, May 23, 2016, 6-8 PM, Tuesday, May 24, 2016, 9-11 AM

Blanding LDS Stake Center
88 West 800 North
Blanding, Utah

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Blanding City Cemetery
500 North Grayson Parkway
Blanding, Utah


Paul A. Brown

Cedar Hills, Utah

Dear Lou and Family,
OUr love and prayers continue with all of you. Thank you so much for making us a part of your lives. We remember the last hugs we received from you and Phil at the Blanding South Chapel - you both are an inspiration and a strength.
Love, Paul & Sherry Brown

Michael and Sherry Porter

Blanding, Utah

We love Phil and your family and send our prayers and love! What a great guy!

Don Guymon

West Bountiful, UT

Phil was a great example. God be with you

Dan Mick and family

Moab Ut

Phil was a very good friend as many of you know we spent many wonderful days at the radio station together he will always be with us in our hearts and minds and Lou and your family today are in our prayers we love you and we all will see Phil again

Gary, Tara, Aj Collin and Our Bulldogs


Phil and Lou,
You will always be the greatest boss that I have ever had in a time in our lives where I really needed a compassionate and morally sound leader. I will always treasure our time together as friends, supervisor and subordinate and eventually we were family. I listened with intent when you shared your "Max" stories and you did the same when I shared my bulldog ones. We loved you and always will. Thank you for all that you did for us as a family.
All Our Love
The Randall/Wilder Bunch

Darling dandy

Salt lake

He was such a amazing man, always so kind ... He will be missed and is a beautiful angel 💕

Lawrence and Shari Guymon

Blanding Utah

Love and prayers for you and your family! Phil was such a valiant son of God! May you be blessed with peace and the calm assurance of Heavenly Father's love.

Lawrence and Shari Guymon

Al Nash

Moab Ut.

Looked forward to hearing you every day on KCYN and missed you every day you weren't there.

mikki palmer

mancos colo

dear lou i was saddened to hear about Phil my love and prayers are with you and your family.

Candice Billingsley

Rexburg, ID

Dear Lou,

Today my thoughts and prayers are for you and your family. Phil is in the best possible place now, but we still miss him so much. His time here with us was precious, thank you for sharing some of his final moments with us. I wanted so much to come and see him these last couple weeks, it just didn't feel right taking time away from you and your family. He'll always be an inspiration to me, he was a lot like a surrogate father during my time in Moab. My father was overseas with little to no communication. Phil showed so much love and compassion. I'll never forget you Phil. Till we meet again....

Brandy Farmer

Holladay, Utah

My dearest friend Lou, I am so grateful for Phil for all that he did for the UDVC Public Awareness Committee. His expertise brought us a lot of success. You and I have shared many experiences and I treasure our friendship through the years. My love and prayers go to you and your family.

Jana Kettering

Murray, UT

Lou and family - Phil put his wholeself into everything he did. He shared is time and talents. He beat the odds for so long. He was so dedicated to his work and had so many skills. He could do just about everything at KCYN....and he did. We couldn't have asked for a more dedicated employee, leader and friend. Even when the odds were against him, he was thinking of others and giving his full effort. He was a great friend to RJC. May you find peace in knowing he got 9 lives and made them all count! All my best.

Bobette Grover

Saint George

Dear Lou and family, So very sorry for your Loss. You will feel the Saviors Love for you and his comfort will bless you and many more in this time of Need. Phil was truly a Hero; a valiant and kind Man. All our Love,
Dan & Bobette Grover

Letha Burtenshaw Stewart

Blanding ut

Dear Lou and family know that I love you with all my heart I've watched the struggles my heart breaks but I know that phil truly lived the meaning of enduring well to the end he will be amply rewarded for his steadfastness. Know I'm am always here for you anytime of the day or night.

Janet Wilcox


Phil was such a community spirited individual. I first knew him when he was running KUTA, and LaVerne and I often went up to promote events and be interviewed relative to San Juan County history, or Blue Mountain Shadows. He was always interested, supportive and accommodating. He helped us put together the audio tracks for the Blanding Centennial show, which required over 200 sound bites, each individually recorded and numbered. It was such a blessing to have his commanding and strong voice as the backbone of that production. His sincere, humble, yet competent skills made him an asset in all he endeavored. On top of all that he was a great husband, and father. What a loss we will all feel. God bless you all.

Sharyn Wyatt

Moab, Utah

Lou, I was so sad but also Joyous to hear of Phil's passing to the otherside. Oh what a reunion that must of been. You know his loved ones on the otherside had been waiting for him for a good long while. But like the Bulldog that he was he just kept holding on cause he loved you all & this world too much to let go. He will be so missed for the Wonderful Kind person he was and still is I am sure. I can just see him sitting there catching my husband Verell up on all the news. I kept telling Verell that Phil was on his way to watch for him and Welcome him Home. I just know that this is just what is happening. We will see him again I know it for sure. My Love to all Sharyn Wyatt

Rod Fowler

I worked for Phil in Kansas City in 1975 at KAYQ Radio. He was a great boss, super newsman and wonderfully talented. He hired a great staff after moving from Colorado to Kansas City, and the news department became a force in the KC market in a short time. I was surprised to hear of his passing. Sending good thoughts to Phil's family.

Stu Seibel

Yakima, WA

Truly a newsman's newsman and a dedicated newsman. One can only hope others will follow his example and may his tribe increase.

John Hollenhorst

Salt Lake City

Phil was a great role-model for me at the beginning of my own broadcast career. He was a fine man, a great newsman and a heck of a good guy. My life is much better for having known him.

John Hollenhorst/ KSL-TV

Nancy Dutcher


It was a pleasure knowing Phil. One of the nicest people I have known. Lou you are also one of the nicest people I have known. I pray for your comfort at this time and send you lots of Hugs.. Wish I could be there for his funeral. You are an amazing couple..

Maureen and Stephen Olsen

Enoch, Utah

Lou and family. We barely found out about Phil and want to send you all our love and condolences. Phil was one of the loveliest of men and always had a kind word. I'm sure he is now enjoying the freedom from the earthly body that caused him so much pain the past years. I am as sure that he and Jim (Dr.) are having a chat session of who is who and who is doing what since Jim is probably so busy he barely has time to check. I am sure Phil will be equally as busy. God bless you all and thank heavens for the gospel and the knowledge we enjoy.
Maureen and Stephen Olsen

Larry Warren

Park City, Utah

Phil was always a pro and kind to everyone he met in the news business. I have fond memories and in later years he invited to talk about Southern Utah news from time to time on KCYN. Phil made a difference and will be missed by anyone who had the privilege of knowing him.

Judi Bishop


To Phils family,

It was my pleasure to have worked with Phil thru our mutual association thru the Relay for Life in Moab. My condolences to you one and all. May his memory be eternal and bring you comfort during this time. His voice will be missed by many and most definitely by those of us with ACS and the Relay for Life. RIP Phil

George Caudill (Captain Midnight)

Seattle, WA.

It is with deep sadness that I read the loss of Philip Mueller. It wasn't but a few months ago that we were talking on the phone and exchanged a few emails. In 1977/78 I was attending San Juan High School in Blanding and working at KUTA Radio 790AM!

I don't know who started it, but I only worked after school hours and so was dubbed the name, "Captain Midnight".

I loved that station!! When I moved back home to Idaho, I was given the water cooler from the station to take home with me (of all things). LOL. I loved working at that station and will be forever grateful for the lessons I learned and the time I spent there. My most fond childhood memories.

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