John M. Miler, age 87, left this earthly scene for the presence of our Lord
on November 6th, 2017. John was a depression baby, born December 23rd, 1929 in Peoria, Illinois. The family eventually relocated in northwestern Pennsylvania where John graduated with honors from Meadville High School in 1947.
In 1948 he enlisted in the Army Signal Corps where he was assigned to
various technical schools, one of which was at Carlisle Barracks,
Pennsylvania. Here his path crossed that of Doris Jean Gutshall and a
mutual attraction developed that lasted a lifetime. They married
in 1950 just before John was sent 'overseas' [as it then was known] to
During John's 3 years of service in Fairbanks they embraced the
local pioneer spirit, and after John's enlistment ended they decided to take
an Alaska discharge and stay put.
John and Doris became active in a start-up church which eventually
became Denali Bible Chapel, where John served as an Elder for many
years. John also was active in establishing Camp Li-Wa for children on Chena Hot Springs Road where he helped construct various buildings and then operated the water and sewer systems. He also served as a counsellor there in the early years.
John earned Electrical Engineering and Engineering Management degrees
at University of Alaska Fairbanks. He eventually headed two satellite ground stations under NASA contracts with the Geophysical Institute-the Minitrack station at Ballaine Lake and the 30-ft dish antenna on the top of the Elvey
Building on campus to support the Alaska SAR Facility. Between those contracts he guided the establishment, and then managed a satellite ground station for the European Space Research Organization (now ESA) off Chena Hot Springs Road. Throughout his professional career he often said he felt guilty being paid to do work that was so much fun.
John mostly was the quiet, serious type. He was more of a thinker than a talker, particularly studying the interface between science and the Christian faith.
He is survived by his loving wife of 67 years, Doris Jean Miller, daughter
Ruth Ann [Ruthie] Yurkovich of North Pole, son Timothy Miller and wife
Beverly of Everett, WA, son Tom Miller and wife Beth of Centralia, WA,
granddaughter Amie Leibbrandt and husband Ivan of North Pole,
granddaughter Julie Solt and husband Ray of Whitelaw, WI, grandson Christopher Miller and his wife, Angela, of Auburn, WA and grandson Allan Miller and his wife, Sarah of Bonney Lake, WA. In all he has ten great grandchildren.
He is also survived by his sister, Ruth May of Fairbanks and was pre-deceased by his father, Earl Miller, and mother Fern Oesch Miller, and by one elder brother, Robert Earl Miller.
We love you, Dad.
The family will place his cremains privately.
A memorial service will be held at Denali Bible Chapel, 1201 Lathrop St,
Fairbanks, AK 99701 on Friday, December 1st at 6PM. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to Denali Bible Chapel.
Arrangements entrusted to Blanchard Family Funeral Home, 482-3232.