Harold "Sam" Miller
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.
Published in Ventura County Star on Feb. 5, 2017.