Harold "Sam" Miller
1929 - 2017
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Harold "Sam" Miller

Ventura, CA

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Sam on January 9, 2017 from pancreatic cancer. He was a native Venturan, having been born on Leighton Drive on June 27, 1929 to Wayne Miller and Irene (Dugan) Miller, and was a child during the Great Depression. His father lost his job in the oil fields, so they lost their home, and were forced to travel wherever he could find ranch work. They lived in at least 14 different places up and down California. During all these moves, Sam started school and discovered his real name was Harold when the teacher was taking roll call. He was quite upset! They attended so many different schools during this time that both he and his brother Al were held back a year. To make matters worse for Sam, he was left-handed at a time that was not accepted. He remembered having his hand frequently hit by a ruler.

They continued this nomadic existence and in 1938 added a little sister, Rosalie, to their family. They finally returned to Saticoy, which at that time was way out in the country. Sam attended Ventura High School, but was impeded in extracurricular activities since he lived so far out of town. His brother Al was in the military and when he returned, he talked Sam into joining the National Guard.

Sam graduated from Ventura High School in 1948. The family moved back up to Marysville where Sam worked as a ranch handler and then the Army reserves were federalized in 1950. During the Korean War he and several of his friends from Ventura were stationed in Japan with brother Al as their commanding officer. Sam was always a prankster and if Al got after him, he'd crack up the troops by saying, "I'm gonna write and tell Mama on you!" He was honorably discharged from the Army of the United States on October 1, 1951 as a Corporal. He continued in the National Guard and was honorably discharged from them on June 7, 1956 as a Sergeant. His last discharge was from the National Guard and Army Reserve as a Sergeant Grade 5 Battery B 225th Armored Field Artillery Battalion on June 18, 1958. He told his son Matt that joining the army was one of the best things he ever did.

After his 1956 discharge he came back to Ventura, married Peggy Rigney and had Matt and Marla. They divorced in 1961. Later, he and his best friends Mickey Perry and Tom Williams rented the Hodge house at SOLIMAR BEACH! Those were the days of "California Dreaming". He loved his children and had them out at the beach every Saturday. In fact, he met his wife Donna at a get together there and was late because he had to take Matt and Marla home. They were married in 1966 and lived a few months on the beachfront until the house sold and they were offered the Smith house across the street to rent. In 1968 with a baby on the way, they purchased their first home on Floral Drive and Matt came to live with them. Remember the flood of 1969 when the Ventura River flooded?they were in the path of flooding from the hill behind their house and then the wild fires of a few years later sent Donna and Matt in search of a home in town. Found it! The house on Hope Street and we moved there in 1972 and still call it home.

Sam was a dedicated father and husband, always putting others before himself. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, fast cars, westerns, beaches, Barbequing, camping, traveling, Palm Springs and sports, especially basketball. It was a life-long favorite of his and he played City League basketball for over 40 years. He was also involved and helped coach Matt and Jude's football and basketball teams and was a big fan of Carter's and Tyler Jade's activities.

He had yearly fishing and hunting trips with his friends and a yearly trek to Idaho to visit with his old teacher Cal Houston.

Sam went from being a construction inspector for BTC Labs (he was their first employee) to becoming a certified OSHPD Inspector and finally going into business for himself. He was in great demand as he had the reputation of being an outstanding inspector, being able to placate both the facility and the contractors. It was said there was the right way, the wrong way and Sam's way. He used to be teased because he was always whistling and the construction crews knew when the "Inspector" was coming. He tried to retire several times, but Cottage Hospital, St. Francis Hospital, Santa Barbara Rehab and CMH all seemed to need him, so he didn't officially get to retire until 2012.

After retirement, he and Donna enjoyed traveling, especially cruising. He loved his little red Corvette and finally was persuaded to join the Ventura County Corvette Club and enjoyed many activities with them.

He and Donna celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary with friends and family in September at the Wedgewood Inn, so we felt very fortunate that he was able to attend even for a brief time to greet his many friends and colleagues. Sam did not want a service and cremation is by the Neptune Society.

He is survived by and will be sorely missed by his wife Donna, sons Matt and Jude, daughter Marla, grandchildren Nicole Gleason, Tyler Jade and Carter Miller, and great-grandchildren Isaac and Isabella, his brother Albert Miller and his wife Joyce, nieces and nephews Alan, Joel, Nathan and Amy, and his sister Rosalie Kosub's children Debbie Young and Todd Kosub and their children.

In lieu of flowers, his family requests that donations be made in his honor to the Ventura High Alumni Foundation at 2 North Catalina St., Ventura, 93001.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Ventura County Star on Feb. 5, 2017.
Memories & Condolences
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21 entries
March 15, 2017
My 30th birthday on the Mississippi with my favorite traveling man ♥ I will miss you so much Sam♥
Melody Smith
March 15, 2017
At the airport for Baltic Cruise-2015
Melody Smith
March 15, 2017
Getting ready for dancing after dinner-French river cruise 2012
Melody Smith
March 15, 2017
Relaxing after shore excursions-French River Cruise 2012
Melody Smith
March 15, 2017
Getting ready to go exploring-French River Cruise 2012
Melody Smith
March 15, 2017
My 30th bday Dinner on the Mississippi-2013
Melody Smith
March 15, 2017
Lovebirds--French River Cruise-2012
Melody Smith
March 15, 2017
Farewell dinner-Barcelona 2012
Melody Smith
March 15, 2017
Cheers to my travel buddy-On the Mississippi-2013
Melody Smith
March 15, 2017
Eating Soup-France-2012
Melody Smith
March 15, 2017
Dancing with his fair lady, Donna-French river cruise-2012
Melody Smith
March 15, 2017
Dancing with Donna ♥French river cruise-2012
Melody Smith
March 15, 2017
Cocktail Party on our Med Cruise-2014
Melody Smith
March 15, 2017
Sam and I on a river cruise in France, 2013
Sam and Donna,
I will always hold Sam in my heart. He was a fun, kind adventurous man. He danced with Donna every trip we went on together. He made fun of me in the best way. We laughed so much together. You two really made the trips we took memorable and I will always be in dept to you for this. Donna, I send your heart love and strength. Miss you already.

Melody
Melody Smith
February 24, 2017
Gosh, now I really do 'feel old.' Sam and Tom Williams were the only ones who worked at Buena Engineering Inc. earlier than I did. Sam continued to work there even after I left after 23 years in 1986 to go to work for the state of Cal. OSHPD as an Area Compliance Officer, working from the LA County line up to Paso Robles on all medical hospitals and skilled nursing facilities in that region. As an ACO I continued to see Sam so frequently it was almost like I never left BTC, up until I retired in 2004.
I have always considered Sam a dear friend and I cannot believe that now, be too has gone. RIP indeed Sam, I will always miss you.
Darryl "Red" Erickson
February 7, 2017
I had the pleasure of working with Sam for many years at BTC. We knew of each other through the architect I had previously worked for, so I already knew he was good for playing jokes, but I also knew he was a hard worker. We ended up sharing an office so I reaped the benefit of being able to learn so much about the business, clients and the importance of being fair to all from Sam. He loved his family and even recruited his son's Matt and Jude along with his brother Al to work for BTC for a short period of time. My deepest sympathy to your family.

Carol Harrison
February 5, 2017
The class of 48 has just lost on of its very best. Take care Harold, Oh that's right it is "Sam" . We did have a few laughs together during high school and many years after. R.I.P. Sam. (It took a lot of years for me to get it right.)
Will Eidson
February 5, 2017
Sweet Sam - there is no doubt you were truly "one of a kind"!!! A terrific Friend to everyone who knew you - we were so fortunate to have had you as such a devoted friend and neighbor - those wonderful years living at Solimar Beach are unforgettable. Our deepest sympathy to your great Family; Donna, Matt, Marla and Jude. We will miss Sam so very much.
All our Love, The Elders - Betty, Mark and Kent
Betty Elder
February 5, 2017
Betty Elder
February 5, 2017
Isaac and Isabella
February 5, 2017
R.I.P Grandpa..we love you
Nicole Gleason
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