David Curtis Miller, 99, passed away on Tuesday November 14, 2023, just hours after his 99th birthday. David was known as Dave or Dick to family and friends, but his biggest fans called him Grandpa. He was so many things to so many people – a truly one of a kind human being who made each of us better people through his influence and example.
He was born in Des Moines, Iowa on November 13, 1924, to Gertrude and Albert Miller. He was preceded in death by his parents, as well as siblings. He served his country in the Navy at the young age of 17 in World War II, spending time in New Guinea and the Philippines. He was discharged in February of 1946 with the rank of See Bee “Coxswain” USNR. He married Lois Louise (Meacham) on January 21, 1946, when he was home on leave. They were happily married for 77 years. He returned from his service and got a job working at Modern Lighting working the punch press which led to the unfortunate accident of losing the top half of two fingers. This was a story all of his kids and grandkids asked about over the years. They had 3 children Kathleen Ann, Michael Alan and Gloria Jean.
He was an electrician by trade, and self-employed. He had many repeat customers throughout his long career, and likely did as much visiting and enjoying a cup of coffee as he did wiring businesses and homes. He also did plenty of highly discounted or pro bono work. He was a kind and generous man in all of his dealings.
He liked to golf and traveled the country with Louise in their van – visiting family and friends and golfing. He loved baseball and was a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan. He was a great drawer and had excellent penmanship. He was constantly doodling something on whatever paper was laying around.
He definitely hit his stride as he became a grandpa, great-grandpa, and great-great-grandpa. He was truly everyone’s favorite. His sense of humor, silly poems, made-up songs and stories made him magnetic to kids of all ages. He was always happy to throw a ball or teach a grandkid to swing a golf club. He was known for being an early riser, whistling while making breakfast for still-snoozing grandkids. He was also always ready with some sandwich cookies and butterscotch candies for his many young visitors.
He loved his children with his whole heart and had the misfortune of outliving all three of them, as well as his wife. He did not hesitate to express his love to his people in both words and deeds. Anytime someone fell on hard times, he was there to help them back to their feet.
He was a very proud Navy Vet. He called himself a “war hero” – jokingly. He wore his U.S. Navy hat any time he left the house in his later years. He was honored to receive a plaque and a coin from the Secretary of the Navy about a month before his 99th birthday. This was a special honor for him – he really took pride in his service.
He lived in his own home right up until a couple of weeks before he passed. He was impressive in every regard in his final months and years. He was intentional with staying mentally sharp, and regularly quizzed himself on naming all the Presidents, states and capitals, and other facts. He read books at a pace that made it hard to keep him in new material. He had so many stories, and his recall remained astonishing as he aged. (He may have repeated the same stories a few times to those who saw him regularly.) Anyone who met him remarked on what a lovely person he was. He never complained about his circumstances. He was the happiest, most pleasant man.
He was preceded in death by his parents Albert and Gertrude Miller, siblings Harry Miller, Earl Miller, Mildred Meyers, Garnett Koder, Ruby Braun, Robert Miller, Pauline Taylor, Carl Miller, Gladys Miller and three children Kathleen Grimes, Michael Miller, and Gloria Anderberg.
He is survived by his son’s-in-law, Alan Anderberg and Gerald Grimes, his 7 grandchildren: Kristen Haines, Melissa (Chip) Officer, Heidee (Jamal) Debbagh, Michael (Ron) Scherer, Andrew (Diane) Miller, Lindsey Hansen, and Zak Anderberg as well as 18 great-grandchildren and 9 great-great-grandchildren 8 nieces and 4 nephews. He was blessed with several namesakes – David being the most popular middle name in our family.