Elmer Arthur Miller, 84, died peacefully Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, in Mesa, Ariz., from complications of dementia. He had resided close to his daughter in Mesa for just more than a year, and was a longtime resident of Mazeppa.
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Elmer was born Nov. 25, 1929, in Chester Township, Wabasha County, to Math Sr. and Leona (Arendt) Miller (the fifth of 10 children). Elmer married Agustina Torres Aguirre on May 4, 1974, in Mazeppa. They later divorced but remained friends throughout his life. He was raised in a farming family and helped out on his parents' and siblings' farms as a young man. Elmer enlisted into the U.S. Air Force in 1951 and served four years, being stationed in Japan during the Korean War. Beginning in July 1955, he worked in the aluminum foundry division of AE Goetze (J.P. Industries) making piston products in Lake City for 36 years. He retired in March 1992.
Elmer was a member of the Mazeppa Veterans Honor Guard and Mazeppa American Legion Post #588. He was a member and supporter of the Experimental Aircraft Association "EAA", and enjoyed attending their air shows in Oshkosh, Wis. Interests included photography, working in his darkroom, woodworking, building model airplanes, World War II history and aircraft, working on cars and bowling with his daughter. He was a loving father and grandfather - a kind and gentle soul, and would not hesitate to offer a helping hand, mow a lawn or shovel snow for a friend or stranger in need. He always had a friendly wave as he walked the streets of Mazeppa and would stop to pet the neighbor's dog or a stray cat. Elmer was fond of his time in Japan (and would have a twinkle in his eye when showing photos of Marilyn Monroe's visit to his air base), trips to Mexico and family vacations, and would share his knowledge of Japanese if the opportunity arose. "Dad" could tell you the difference between B-17 and B-25 bombers, and which year and make/model an old car was by the shape of its tail lights.
Elmer was preceded in death by his sister, Lorraine Glander; four brothers, Lawrence, Henry, Ronald and Joseph; and his parents.
He is lovingly remembered by his ex-wife Agustina; his son, Jose (Jessica) Torres Miller, of Rochester, and daughter, Cristina (Louie) Avila, of Mesa, Ariz.; grandchildren, Yesenia Hong, Chloe, Nathan and Antonio Torres Miller and Emilio Avila; and his siblings, Math, Jr., and Albert (Bette), of Mazeppa, Helen Richardson, of Lake City and Justine Schei, of Rochester.
Burial with military rites will be held in the spring at the Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Cemetery in Mazeppa.
Arrangements are being made by Sonoran Skies Mortuary, Mesa, Ariz.
Many thanks to Silver Creek Inn Memory Care Community and Seasons Hospice.
Published in The Post-Bulletin on Feb. 1, 2014