MILLER, JACK NOLAN Jack Nolan Miller, age 92, passed away in Kyle, Texas on March 31, 2019. Jack was born in San Antonio, Texas on November 24, 1926, but moved to Austin in 1932. Jack's dad worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad as a brakeman and then later as a conductor. Jack had two brothers, Jim and Gene. Jack's first job was delivering a paper route. He bought a bicycle for $19.95 and agreed to pay it off at 50 cents per week but actually paid it off in less than two months. Back then an American Statesman monthly subscription was $1.20. If he was able to collect it from his customers he got to keep 10 cents. It's now hard to imagine him riding that many miles on his bike before dawn each day for 10 cents per customer per month. World War II became full-fledged and Jack knew as soon as he was old enough he would join the Navy. In June 1943 Jack graduated from Austin High School at the age of 16, but being too young to enlist he went to work at the Steck Company as an apprentice bookkeeper at 45 cents per hour. Jack thought he was in high cotton but still longed to wear a sailor's uniform. When he turned 17 he convinced his parents to sign the enlistment form so that he could join the Navy. Jack became a sonarman and served aboard the USS Charles E. Brannon destroyer escort in the South Pacific. During that time his ship was assigned to provide close shore support for the Marines during their invasions of Iwo Jima, Okinawa and the Philippines. Jack always considered this the most exciting part of his life and took great pride in being a World War II Navy combat veteran. Jack was truly a member of the "Greatest Generation". After the war Jack returned to Austin and hoped to get his old job back as an apprentice bookkeeper; however, all those jobs were filled so they offered him a job in the bookbindery at 58.5 cents per hour. Jack's plan was to only work at that job until a bookkeeper position became open but to his surprise, he developed a love and passion for the art of bookbinding. Jack also planned to go to the University of Texas, but with money in his pocket, it was hard to leave his job. As luck would have it he met a pretty girl, Evelyn Luksa, who also worked at the Steck Company. According to Jack, Evelyn was very attractive but somewhat shy and it took a while for their romance to bloom. He said she was somewhat embarrassed to ride in his 1933 Buick, but their romance improved when he bought a 1939 Pontiac. Jack and Evelyn were married in 1949 at Ward Memorial Methodist Church in Austin. In 1954 their only child Jackie was born, and she quickly became the light of Jack's life. To watch them together it was obvious that she was very much a "Daddy's Girl", something that would continue between them for the rest of his life. In 1956 Jack and Evelyn joined the First United Methodist Church in Austin and remained members for the rest of their lives. Jack and Evelyn remained together for 67 years until her death in 2017. Jack and Evelyn enjoyed traveling while their daughter Jackie was growing up. Their travels took them to California, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, New York, New Orleans, Branson, and many trips to casinos (all by car). Jack and Evelyn enjoyed going to Donn's Depot almost every Friday night for over 30 years. They enjoyed sitting at "their seats" at the piano bar listening to Donn Adelman and his band. Donn and the Donn's Depot regulars became like second family to them. In 1966 Jack and Evelyn bought the bookbinding operations and equipment from the Steck Company and opened Custom Bookbinders. They developed a very successful business and ran it until they retired and sold their business in 2003. Anyone who knew Jack always commented about the twinkle in his eye and his sense of humor. He was always a complete gentleman, he was fun to be around and made any encounter enjoyable. One of Jack's favorite pastimes was people watching because he enjoyed watching what he considered to be their quirky and humorous behavior. In 2013 Jack went on the Honor Flight from Austin to Washington, DC to visit the World War II memorial and other monuments. It was a real highlight in his life, something that he loved talking about. Jack Miller was preceded in death by his wife Evelyn Miller; his parents Nolan and Velma Miller; his older brother Jim and his younger brother Gene. Jack is survived by his daughter Jackie Vanderhule and her husband George of Driftwood; his grandson Russell Manley and his wife Karina of Austin; his step-grandson Trey Vanderhule and his wife Shannon and their two children Micaela and Tristan of Southlake; his sister-in-law Claylia Miller of Liberty Hill; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. Visitation will be from 5:00 to 8:00 pm Friday, April 5, 2019, at Harrell Funeral Home, 1715 Kirby in Kyle, Texas. The Funeral Service will be at 11:00 am Saturday, April 6, 2019, at Harrell Funeral Home in Kyle. Graveside and interment will be at 3:00 pm at Capital Memorial Gardens, 14501 N. IH 35 in Pflugerville. The family would like to thank the staff at Orchard Park Assisted Living in Kyle for their loving care of Jack during the past 5 years. Charitable donations can be made in Jack's name to Honor Flight Austin, 815-A Brazos St., UPS Box 498, Austin TX 78701-2514 or to the First United Methodist Church Endowment Fund, 1201 Lavaca St., Austin TX 78701.
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Published in Austin American-Statesman from Apr. 4 to Apr. 6, 2019.