Gary Ray Miller, son of Pauline Kiner Miller and Ray Miller, was born September 3, 1947 in Jefferson, Iowa and died January 6, 2018 at Greene County Medical Center in Jefferson at the age of 70 years.
Gary grew up in Grand Junction, Iowa and attended Grand Junction High School. Gary went to work for his dad, Ray and later took over Miller Plumbing and Heating. On September 11, 1976, Gary was united in marriage to Mary Ann Kersey. They were the proud parents of two children, Brian and Patsy. They made their home in Grand Junction.
Gary loved to visit. When you ran into Gary you better not be in a hurry because his conversations were never short. Gary was the type of person who would give you the shirt off his back and it wouldn’t matter if he knew you or not. You could call him anytime day or night and he would be there willing to help and never ever expected anything in return. Gary also had a great passion for tractor pulls and racing. He loved to build them, work on them and more importantly seeing them out on the track winning. His famous words before each race were if you tear this up, I’m not fixing it, yet he was the first one to unload it at 9 a.m. the next day. Working on his grandkids go-carts helped fulfill his own passion and relive his own go-cart days.
His love for farming was a very close second. He was in pure heaven when he was out in the field and driving the tractor with his best friend Nick Webb and crew. The bond these guys had was untouchable. Gary also had a passion for the color red. Every tool of his was painted red so he knew if any of his tools were missing he could recognize them by the paint. And when we say all his tools we mean ALL his tools and maybe even Jon Strabley’s go cart motor, haha.
Most of all Gary was the happiest when he was helping others. Not a day went by that someone wouldn’t try to pick up the phone and try to see if he could help out. He was always the first anyone ever called. He was a jack of all trades. Especially when he claimed he could save Patsy money by building her a bike rack and welded her one up, only to have someone pull up beside the vehicle to tell him he’s dragging some bikes behind the camper. Gary never lived that one down. Or when he was welding in Brian’s garage and a spark flew near the gas tank and started a fire so he handed the tank to Brian and said, here take this, and continues to weld. Everybody always loved to pick on him, including the time his sleeve was on fire and once he noticed he turned around and said I thought my arm was getting hot and laughed. Or if Robert drew his name at Christmas time you knew his present would be duck taped, zip tied and would require multiple tools to open.
Gary loved to be active. He loved to wrestle his grandkids. You never knew who to yell at the kids or Gary. And as much as Gary loved his goodies so did his grandkids. His grandkids often emptied his secret stash in the shop and wouldn’t leave any for him. To stop this he put a lock on the drawer so they had to ask, yet this didn’t stop Degan trying to pry open the drawer. He lived for this kind of stuff. Many voids are left now that will never in this lifetime be filled but we all know “that there” life he lived was lived to the fullest.
A service of remembrance was held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, January 10 at Slininger-Schroeder Funeral Home in Jefferson with Pastor Steve Ransom of First United Methodist Church in Grand Junction officiating. The recorded music played was “My Old Man” by Zack Brown Band, “Daddy’s Hands” by Holly Dunn, “Jealous of the Angels” by Donna Taggert and “A Father’s Love” by George Strait. Honorary casket bearers were Kenny Madison, Carl Allbee, Dave Coon, Bug Gunn, Tim Webb, Jerry Groves and Rick Comer. Casket bearers were Jeff Strabley, Jon Strabley, Jac Strabley, Wayne Kafer, Robert Kafer, Mark Renslow and Nick Webb. Interment was at Junction Township Cemetery in Grand Junction.
Gary was preceded in death by his parents Pauline and Ray Miller.
He is survived by his wife, Mary Ann Miller, his son, Brian (Brenda) Miller and his daughter, Patsy Miller all of Grand Junction; three grandchildren: Kelsi, Grant and Degan Miller; his sister, Marilyn (Mike) Mogensen of Ariz.; nieces; nephews; other relatives and friends.
Memorials are suggested to the family for the purchase of park benches for Grand Junction at a later date.
Online condolences may be left at www.sliningerschroeder.com.
Slininger-Schroeder Funeral Home, 515-386-2171.