In Memoriam ~ Donald V. Miller ’48
Donald V. Miller ’48
Beloved Dad, Grandpa, and Great Grandpa
Donald Vincent Miller, age 87 of Sauk Centre, died Tuesday, January 30, 2018 at his home in Fairway Pines in Sauk Centre, Minnesota with his family at his side.
A Memorial Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, February 24 at Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church in Sauk Centre with Father Sudhansu Kumar, OSB and Father Andrew Marthaler con-celebrating. There will be no visitation at the church prior to the Mass. Don’s family invites you to the Sauk Centre American Legion immediately following the Mass to celebrate his life. His family will greet friends and share lunch while everyone has an opportunity to tell a favorite memory of Don.
His family members remember . . .
“Dad was born August 19, 1930 to Edward and Grace (Orth) Miller in West Union Township, West Union, Minnesota. Dad attended school in a rural schoolhouse, then in Sauk Centre and graduated from Saint John’s Preparatory High School in 1948. Dad and Patricia (Pat) Louise Marthaler were married at Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church, Sauk Centre, Minnesota on April 15, 1952.
Dad farmed with his father, Ed, until July 1952 when Dad was drafted into the United States Army. He completed basic training at Camp Chaffee, Arkansas. Once the Army realized how well he could type, Dad was made Company Clerk at Camp Chaffee. After being Honorably Discharged in 1954, Dad and Mom returned to the West Union area to continue farming with Dad’s father, Ed. A few years later, Dad and his younger brother, Jim, would begin farming together for many years. Dad was a busy guy! He also sold Dekalb Brand corn seed. In 1975, Dad and his brother, Jim, were two of the five original owners of MBC (Miller, Bailey, Calkins) Drainage and offered land tiling services. After Dad’s retirement from farming in 1989, he began selling crop insurance and continued with that business until he sold it in 2012.
Dad had a passion for gardening, playing cards, casino trips, fishing, traveling and counting his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Dad and Mom created beautiful flower gardens along the creek that ran through their farmstead. Mowing the extensive lawns on the farm was also something Dad looked forward to. Dad mowed for the last time in the summer of 2017, when he reluctantly acknowledged that it was getting too difficult to get on and off the lawn tractor. Giving up lawn mowing was more difficult for him than hanging up his car keys for the last time.
Skat (pronounced “scott”) was Dad’s favorite card game and he also loved a good game of cribbage. He played cribbage up until a week before his death. Dad made many trips to the casino where he would play the penny slots. Mary and her husband often took Dad on trips to the area casinos. Mary is sure that Dad would hide from them when it was close to the pre-determined time to go home because he was having so much fun. She would have to walk the entire casino several times before she could catch up to him. Dad never really won big money, but he always smiled and said, “I do okay” when asked.
Dad spent many happy hours casting “Daredevils” after his favorite fish – Northern Pike -at Westport Lake or other favorite spots. He occasionally got out on the ice for some winter fishing with Brian or some of the grandkids.
Travel was something Dad really enjoyed. For many years, Dad’s preferred method of travel was by Amtrak. He would board the train in Fargo, go to California to visit his two sisters and Mom’s brother, then to Arizona to visit his brother, then on to Arkansas to visit friends from his army days before heading back home.
Dad was a very handy guy at fixing things. While the rest of us might look for a product on the Internet that would do what we needed, Dad would use nails, wire, duct tape, tin cans and scrap lumber to create a solution. It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but it was functional and did exactly what it needed to do. On the day before he died, Dad was still suggesting modifications he wanted Gene and Brian to make to his electric scooter. Said modifications included an empty Bush’s Beans can and attaching it to the side of the electric scooter with a bolt to hold his bottle of water.
Dad’s needs were simple. Give him a ham sandwich on a Dollar bun from Coburn’s followed by a chocolate chip cookie or a chocolate sundae from McDonald’s and he was a very happy man. He also enjoyed collecting brain teasers and tidbits of information. Dad loved to share little-known facts that he read about. Many of these little tidbits of information are taped up all over the house: On the refrigerator, his desk, on the computer, inside cupboard doors, in his car, his wallet and his vest pockets. They were everywhere! And Dad could remember what almost all of them said.
Dad loved his children and grandchildren, but when the great-grandchildren came into his life, he really got excited. His favorite pastime when the Greats came to visit was to get them to dance along as Big Mouth Billy Bass (the singing fish wall plaque) sang “Take Me to the River”. ”
Don is survived by his children: Eugene (Linda) Miller of Sauk Centre, MN; Mary (Kevin) Swenson of Foley, MN; Kimberly (Wayne) Danielson of Fargo, ND; Brian (special friend, Brenda Wolbeck) Miller of Sauk Centre, MN; sixteen grandchildren and twenty-four great-grandchildren, brother, James (Rosie) Miller of Sauk Centre, MN; sister, MaryAnn McGill of Lafayette, CA; brothers-in-law, LeRoy (Shirley) Marthaler of Clarksdale, AZ; Edward (Marcia) Marthaler of Newport Beach, CA; and many nieces and nephews.
Don was preceded in death by his wife Patricia in 2008, his parents, sisters Renee Miller and Arlene Freitas, three infant children and one great-grandchild.
Although Don loved flowers, he preferred them outdoors in the gardens. In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial to Holy Family School, 231 Sinclair Lewis Ave, Sauk Centre, MN 56378 or to a charity of your choice in Dad’s memory. Burial of ashes will be at St. Alexius Cemetery in West Union, MN at a later date.