Neil Christopher Muller

Date of Birth

January 28, 1985

Date of Death

December 12, 2020

City of Death

Bend, Oregon

Neil Christopher Muller, 35

Born January 28, 1985 in Lexington KY. Died unexpectedly of a previously undetected heart condition on December 12, 2020 in Sisters OR.

Neil was born in Lexington KY to parents Kris and Bob Muller. His childhood was spent in Kentucky with his older brother, Jon, in a great community with people who became lifelong friends. While they resided in Kentucky, Neil and his family made regular forays West for camping and hiking in national parks, which later led to Neil’s backpack trips in the Rockies, Hansen family reunions, and visiting grandparents and cousins in CA. Neil attended Lexington Co-op Preschool, Stonewall Elementary School, and Lexington Christian Academy before moving with his parents to Santa Barbara CA. He was a proud alum of Dunn School (2004) in Los Olivos CA and the University of Redlands (2008) in southern California. He played baseball and other sports for the Earwigs and played on the Redlands Bulldog baseball team for four years. He was an enthusiastic, good hearted, playful, loving family member; a caring friend and excellent teammate; and a fierce Nutsy competitor. He loved golf, the San Francisco Giants, and Kentucky basketball – not necessarily in that order. He was a happy guy, but he was happiest when Sara came into his life.

Neil and Sara married in 2015 and lived briefly in Bethesda MD until a downsizing of their company resulted in an unexpected opportunity to move West, closer to extended family. Neil’s outgoing nature and work ethic helped transition his career to nonprofit organizations, where he was fortunate to have wonderful colleagues and one special mentor. His work was in development and fundraising in the SF Bay Area – at Junipero Serra High School, United Way Bay Area, and most recently Children’s Health Council (CHC).

Neil’s joie de vivre left everyone he met in a better place. He never met a stranger. But his family – Sara and their two young boys, Mason and Ryan – were his world. He was a hands-on dad from the start and engaged his boys in everything – daily nature walks, baking together, swim lessons, always reading, and even science experiments. In 2020, during the pandemic, Neil and Sara each worked remotely which afforded extended sojourns in Santa Barbara CA and in Sisters OR – time together which both sets of parents cherish.

Survivors include his wife Sara Swaner, his sons Mason and Ryan, his parents Kris and Bob Muller, his brother Jon Muller (Moushumi Paul), his niece Madhabi, and the extended Hansen family. Survivors also include his mother-in-law Karan Swaner, brother-in-law Chris Nichols (Victoria), and sister-in-law Zoe Swaner, and the extended Swaner family.

Neil’s family would like to thank family members and dear friends and colleagues near and far for their love and support during this shattering time. A gathering is planned after the pandemic to celebrate Neil’s life. Memorial contributions may be made in Neil’s name to The Learning Strategies Program, Dunn School, PO Box 98, Los Olivos CA 93441 or online on the Alumni & Giving page at (Please specify Neil Muller on the memo line for donations by check and on the ‘Donor Recognition Name’ and ‘In Memory Of’ spaces for online donations, no need to specify ‘Fund.’)


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