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OBIT: John Robert Miller

This news story was published on January 2, 2019.
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John Robert Miller, 86, of Clear Lake, died after a brief illness at the Oakwood Care Center on December 12, 2018.

A Memorial Prayer Service will be held at 5:00 PM on Saturday, December 22, 2018, at the United Methodist Church in Clear Lake.

Visitation will be held at the Church prior to the service, starting at 3:00 PM. A private inurnment will be held at a later date.

John was born on October 29, 1932, to Roscoe and Jean Miller at the family home in Clear Lake. He was a 1951 graduate of Clear Lake High School, and he majored in business at Mason City Junior College and Iowa State College.

John married Donna Jost on January 3, 1954, at the Old Stone Methodist Church in Rock Falls. They spent the first year of their marriage at the US Army Field Artillery School in Fort Sill Oklahoma, where John taught South Korean soldiers how to fire heavy artillery. He was among the group of soldiers credited with saving the lives of several South Koreans when one of the artillery pieces exploded.

Returning to Clear Lake, he joined his father Roscoe in running Miller Hardware, eventually purchasing the business. In 1986 John and Donna converted the hardware business into Miller’s Emporium (now Weathered Elements). John also worked as a commercial truck driver for Midwest Wholesale in Mason City. They sold Miller’s Emporium in 1996 and operated an upholstery business from their home.

John actively contributed to the community. A Boy Scout as a youth, John was a Committeeman and Assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 30, and helped his two sons attain the rank of Eagle Scout. He also participated in a variety of initiatives associated with the United Methodist Church, most recently in calling upon parishioners in hospitals and care facilities.

A longtime member of the Lions Club, John served as Host of a Lions Club State Convention, and was awarded the Lions Club’s highest honor; the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award.

John was also an elected official of the Clear Lake Sanitary District for 39 years, the longest term of service of any Board member.

Although his favorite pastime was reading, John had an interest in mechanical devices and trained as a locksmith. He enjoyed his gun and tool collections and in earlier years was an avid duck and pheasant hunter. In later years he turned to woodworking and wood carving to make gifts for the family.

John was a Master Gardener, along with Donna, and they developed beautiful plantings at their long-time home on the Outlet in Clear Lake.

John doted on his grandchildren and great-grandchildren and they dearly loved “Papa” in return.

He embraced everyone in life with the same generous sense of humor, whether they be young or old, regardless of color or gender, and whether they were dogs, cats or people. His daily goal was to make others feel better than if they had not run into him that day. His quick wit and kind words were a source of joy to those who knew him. His legacy remains with his beloved wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

John is survived by Donna Miller, his wife of 64 years, brother Tom (Shirley) Miller of Clear Lake; children Matthew (Eileen) Miller of Clear Lake, and David Miller (Dr. Melissa Frame) of Rockford; grandchildren Betsy (Aaron) Rohr, Katie (Jonathon) Kinrade, Thomas Miller (fiance Taryn Carolus), Daniel (Sidra) Miller, Gordon Miller (Ariel Knoch), Andrew (Sally) Miller, and Madeline Chyba; great-grandchildren Ellie, Alex and Landen Rohr, as well as Annica and Owen Miller; in-laws Linda (Clifford) Weatherwax and Margaret Jost, all of Rock Falls, and Julie (Roger) Haugen of Solon, IA.

He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers-in-law Dean Jost and Leo Jost, and sister-in-law Karen Jost, all of Rock Falls.

In lieu of flowers or gifts, the family requests that donations be made to the Clear Lake Fire Department or the Clear Lake United Methodist Church.

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