William Marion Miller
February 16, 1924 - October 25, 2013
We take great solace in knowing where our heroes are buried
William Marion Miller: husband, father, brother, grandfather, great grandfather, craftsman, soldier and patriot.
Grandpa was born in Seaside, on Feb. 16, 1924, to Lloyd and Roberta Miller. He was one of three children, of which he was the eldest. He and his brother Clarence (Fuzzy) and sister Charlene shared a wonderful if frugal childhood. They remained close and spent many years sharing births, deaths and everything in between.
Because of his strong sense of duty and country, Bill entered the service immediately upon high school graduation. He was with the 17th Airborne 139th Engineer Battalion and was with C Company when they jumped into Normandy on D-Day and into Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge. He received a good conduct medal, jump wings and glider patch.
While he was overseas, his parents moved to St. Paul and purchased what is currently the Melcher farm.
Upon his discharge, Bill followed his family to the Willamette Valley where he met Donna, a Rodeo queen with Rodeo in her blood. Seaside was still calling him so he returned there to work as a logger and continued his long-distance relationship with Donna. In 1948 they were married in St. Paul. He proceeded to build the house they have lived in for 65 years. Life blessed them with three children but also, as life does, presented other challenges. After the birth of their first child Nancy, Donna contracted polio during the 1949 polio epidemic and they spent the next two years dealing with surgeries and rehabilitation which was a tremendous challenge for a young couple.
Grandpa eventually formed a partnership with another contractor and started Beaver State Corp in Hillsboro. He commuted each day over the mountain and, once home, continued to work on projects both at home and for others, never saying no and always with perfection.
Through his wife, Donna, he became involved with Rodeo. His work can be seen in almost all corners of the arena – above and below. He worked tirelessly behind the scenes. Meticulous and detailed, he went home at night secure in the knowledge that the work he had done was his best – never thinking of recognition or thanks. Grandpa was a Rodeo director from 1975-1995, Rodeo vice president from 1989-1990 and Rodeo president from 1991-1993. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003.
Although work and Rodeo took up a large part of his life, Grandpa loved the outdoors. No matter the prey, whether it be fish, deer or clam, he embraced hunting, fishing or clamming with passion. He was the happiest knee-deep in the ocean with a clam gun in his hands or patiently waiting for a hungry rainbow trout to give him a run for his money. He was an award-winning trap shooter and spent many hours competing with Donna and his son Neil. He was a lover of dogs and it was never a surprise to see him, on any given fall Saturday afternoon, grab his shotgun and, with dogs in tow, head out for the weekend of pheasant hunting.
As he held my mothers hand, grandpa talked about how worn, rough and calloused his hands had become. I cant help but think of what a perfect representation those hands were of the man of which they belonged. Strong enough to swing a hammer, yet gentle enough to cradle a newborn grandchild. A firm confident handshake that told you he was a man of his word. A loving, compassionate hand that cared for Donna, his partner of 65 years.
Bill is survived by his wife Donna, of St. Paul; children Nancy (Bill) Anderson of Sequim, Wash., Neil Miller, of St. Paul, and Julie (Pat) Hockett, of Woodburn; brother Clarence Fuzzy Miller, of Woodburn; eight grandchildren and four great children. He was preceded in death by a sister, Charlene Glass.
Visitation Oct. 29, 2013 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Simon-Cornwell Colonial Chapel, Woodburn. Funeral Mass will be held Oct. 30, 2013 11 a.m. at St. Paul Catholic Church, St. Paul. Right of committal to follow at St. Paul Catholic Cemetery. Arrangements by mon-Cornwell Colonial Chapel, Woodburn.
Donations can be made to the St. Paul Cemetery Association for the installation of a flag pole.