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John M. Miller


1929 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
John M. Miller Obituary
John M. Miler, 87, left this earthly scene for the presence of our Lord on Nov. 6, 2017. John was a depression baby, born Dec. 23, 1929, in Peoria, Illinois. The family eventually relocated in northwestern Pennsylvania where John graduated with honors from Meadville High School in 1947.
In 1948, he enlisted in the Army Signal Corps where he was assigned to various technical schools, one of which was at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. Here his path crossed that of Doris Jean Gutshall. A mutual attraction developed that lasted a lifetime. They married in 1950 just before John was sent "overseas" (as it then was known) to Fairbanks.
During John's three years of service in Fairbanks, they embraced the local pioneer spirit and after John's enlistment ended, they decided to take an Alaska discharge and stay put.
John and Doris became active in a start-up church which eventually became Denali Bible Chapel, where John served as an elder for many years. John also was active in establishing Camp Li-Wa for children on Chena Hot Springs Road, where he helped construct various buildings and then operated the water and sewer systems. He also served there as a counselor in the early years.
John earned electrical engineering and engineering management degrees at University of Alaska Fairbanks. He eventually headed two satellite ground stations under NASA contracts with the Geophysical Institute, the Minitrack station at Ballaine Lake and the 30-foot dish antenna on the top of the Elvey Building on campus to support the Alaska SAR Facility. Between those contracts, he guided the establishment, and then managed, a satellite ground station for the European Space Research Organization (now ESA) off Chena Hot Springs Road. Throughout his professional career, he often said he felt guilty being paid to do work that was so much fun.
John mostly was the quiet, serious type. He was more of a thinker than a talker, particularly studying the interface between science and the Christian faith.
He is survived by his loving wife of 67 years, Doris Jean Miller; daughter, Ruth Ann (Ruthie) Yurkovich, of North Pole; son, Timothy Miller and wife, Beverly, of Everett, Washington; son, Tom Miller and wife Beth, of Centralia, Washington; granddaughter Amie Leibbrandt and husband Ivan, of North Pole; granddaughter, Julie Solt and husband Ray, of Whitelaw, Wisconsin; grandson, Christopher Miller and his wife, Angela, of Auburn, Washington; and grandson, Allan Miller and his wife, Sarah, of Bonney Lake, Washington. In all he has ten great grandchildren.
He is also survived by his sister, Ruth May, of Fairbanks. He was predeceased by his father, Earl Miller, and mother, Fern Oesch Miller, and by one elder brother, Robert Earl Miller.
We love you, Dad.
The family will place his cremains privately.
A memorial service will be held at Denali Bible Chapel, 1201 Lathrop St. Fairbanks, AK 99701 at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to Denali Bible Chapel.
Arrangements entrusted to Blanchard Family Funeral Home, 482-3232. Online condolences may be made at blanchardfamilyfuneralhome.com.
Published in Daily News-Miner on Nov. 12, 2017
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