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Eugene F. Miller


1918 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Eugene F. Miller Lt. Col, USAF (Ret.)
1918 - 2017
Gene's adventures began January 19l8, Pierce City, Missouri, during the Spanish-American Flu epidemic.
Graduating from Univ. of Oklahoma/1939 (graduated high school at 15 but was not allowed college entrance until 16.) Opting for the horse-drawn cavalry (ROTC) he could play polo with the horse on weekend. He then worked as a petroleum engineer in Texas (his dad was mayor of nearby Borger, TX, several times). Gene was an Army Air Corps aerial photography officer at Gowen Field in 1942 when he met Kathryn J. Mutch of Caldwell. Marriage and birth of their only child, Beth Anne, took place before assignment to the WW2 Pacific Theatre . "Goodbye, Dear, I'll be back in a year," took 2 plus years returning (with malaria and having survived Dengue fever). So many others didn't return, and we are forever in their debt.
During World War II (his unit consisted of the first B-l7's flying unarmed and out of gas into Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941) however, Gene, still an Army Air Corps cadet, commanded the ground echelon shipboard when a nearby ship was torpedoed. The rest of the convoy (and Gene!) then raced back to the States.
Gene was then assigned to combat mapping in New Guinea, Biak Island, Philipp ines and later, Tokyo. He survived a T-33 losing power at low level, making an emergency landing; a C-130 close call; a runaway refrigerator near Idaho City; a missile crisis in Germany was averted with late close friend, Col. Britt May; those were only some of the things we knew. The doctors suggested he slow down ... fat chance!
Various military assignments followed, with wife Kathryn making a home preparing meals atop a space heater, making curtains from parachute silk, entertaining unexpected dignitaries (former USA VP Alben Barkley made an appearance).
Gene's staff and command assignments included FL; SAC in LA; Morocco (a wealthy Moroccan offered to buy daughter, Beth, age 12, but guess the price wasn't right!; base commander at newly opened Aviano AFB Italy; AZ (Red Flag); FL, Ankara , Turkey (of course, the furniture went to Japan, 3 months later arriving finding us still living in a Turkish hotel under curfew during a coup d' etat). Ohio and Germany topped off his Air Force career.
Gene continued his fishing, hunting, golfing, shooting competition and sports. He was on the USAFE pistol team; won golf trophies; shot wild boar and bear near Russian border during the Cold War. As always, fish were in mortal danger of his prowess!
Following retirement in 1968, Gene and Kathryn returned to Boise with Gene work ing briefly, as a realtor and completing his MBA at Boise State Univ. Lung cancer tragically claimed Kathryn in 1990. Gene and a boyhood friend from Oklahoma continued many destination fishing trips until their early 90's. He mastered his first computer at age 86 (with a few colorful words).
He was busy with VFW, Elks, DAV, American Legion, Boise Fly Fishers (charter member) Gowen Officers' Assn and others. Boy, could he "work" a room with his courtly manners, never knowing a stranger! Years later he and Evelyn Welke became companions and traveled extensively. Moving to MeadowLake Assisted Living, he enjoyed the social life while still taking the occasional fishing trip. He certainly kept the MeadowLake staff on alert and we certainly thank (and apologize too!) them.
Being a remarkable person, Gene naturally had remarkable parents: John Roy Miller, an attorney, and Cecilia E. Dunovsky Miller, a housewife, had 3 children who claimed Missouri, Oklahoma, Ohio and Texas as their homes. He survived his older sister, the late Regina Saxon (Jerry) Lyons of Crofton, MD (aged 100, guess she won't mind her age being told). His younger sister, Laura Mae (Ed) Carpenter of Sarasota, FL, passed in 2007. Proud daughter Beth Miller Collier of Boise (no age to be listed!) was Designated Dawg Sitter while Gene gallivanted the world (again!). Gene's family includes nieces Janice Saxon (Dale) Hartig of Baltimore, Barbara Saxon of San Jose, Patty Mutch (Larry) Krebs of San Jose, and nephew Ken (Linda) Mutch of Boise. (These relatives would mind their age being told, I understand). Dean (Marie) Mutch, Philip (Mildred) Mutch, Kermit Saxon, Jerry Lyons, and Edward Carpenter passed earlier.
If you wish, a memorial to Wooly Buggers, youth club of Boise Valley Fly Fishers, P.O. Box 311, Boise 83701 would be appreciated. Also, Meridian Canine Rescue, 501 E. Scenery Ln, Meridian 83642 in honor of Gene's life-long love of dogs could use some help.
Military honors and burial at Idaho State Veterans Cemetery will be at a later date when weather cooperates. Appreciation to MeadowLake Assisted and Encompass Hospice helping ease Gene's last journey. He will be missed. Over and out.
Published in Idaho Statesman on Apr. 30, 2017
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