Richard (Dick) Dale Miller passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. He was proud to be 84 years young.
Dick was born on November 21st, 1935 in Arcata, Calif. to Herbert and Evelyn Miller (Turner), and grew up on Central Avenue in McKinleyville, Calif. Dick was the eldest of two sons. His life consisted of a very close family bond. He graduated from Arcata High School in 1953 and attended Humboldt State College for a short period of time.
Dick married his high school sweetheart, Joan Miller (Millis) in 1955. Dick and Joan immediately moved to the family ranch upon their marriage, and started their farming career together.
The ranch life was not new to Dick. His father’s family purchased the property that Dick and his brother grew up on in 1912. At the marriage of Dick and Joan and life together beginnings, instead of diamonds, chickens were purchased. Thousands of chickens, as many as 12,000. Dick needed to make a living and expand on the farming operations his father had begun.
In 1959, Dick and his brother Don joined forces and officially began Miller Farms. Joan being the ranch wife, Dick and Don milking Holstein cows, growing potatoes for sale and corn for the cows and of course cleaning chicken sheds. Don’s late wife Marleen joined the team at their marriage.
A highlight for the children of the family was the “modern” egg vending machine that sat on Central Avenue, it was like a Starbucks drive through in the early 1960s. A few quarters bought a dozen fresh eggs! Dick, his brother and a few close friends always had a Thursday night poker game at their father’s home. The children got to roll the quarters from the machine, and Dick always managed to pass a few along to them.
The families lived next door to each other on the ranch. Dick provided a great opportunity for his family to live and learn. In 1963 Dick and Don landscaped the home on Central Avenue that Dick and neighbor Herb Sorensen built for their young family.
This led to the community asking for the same type of services. Miller Farms Nursery was started. During Dick’s working career at the family business, he was the face at the shop. If something was needed before or after business hours, the home phone rang and Dick was there to respond.
Dick enjoyed many hunting trips to Utah, with his brother Don, bringing home mule deer meat for the family to enjoy. In addition, Dick enjoyed hunting upland game birds at the family ranch in Harper, Oregon. The ranch and hunting traditions are followed today by Dick and Don’s families.
Upon their retirement, they made Willow Creek their permanent home. They had many friends in the small town. Dick was an avid golfer, and the course was flying high at the time.
Dick and Joan shared an anniversary, with special friends, Jack and Lois Robbins (deceased) and Frank and Dorothy Dutra. The six of them made a trip to Reno annually for well over 20 years.
Dick and Joan travelled to Maui in the early 1980s. They went back the following year to purchase their home there.
Every winter following, they spent it at Dick’s special first floor residence at “Sugar Beach” in Kihei, Maui. They had so many friends at Sugar Beach. The daily card games, cocktails, conch horn blowing at sunset, and the green flash that followed!
This truly was Dick’s favorite place to be. He loved it, and he was loved by all. Dick was known as the “mayor” of Sugar Beach. If anyone needed information just head to unit 119.
Dick is survived and will be forever missed by his wife of 64 years, Joan; daughters, Linda Sundberg (Garth Sundberg), Lori Poff (Stan Poff); grandchildren, Randy Sundberg (Sonja), Renea Sundberg (Ronnie O’Neill), Casey Poff (Sarah), Cara Battilocchi (Brad), great-grandchildren, Phoebe, Isabella and Ava Sundberg, Trenton Soderberg, Ashlee O’Neill, Jack Reisinger, Lane, Cody, Charley Poff, Lily and Bo Battilocchi.
His brother Don Miller, and nephews, Scott, Ross and Troy Miller.
John and Janine Cox who have selflessly helped Dick and Joan for the past several years.
His large list of friends is too numerous to mention, for each name in print one would be forgotten. The staff of Miller Farms Nursery are to be thanked.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Herb and Evelyn Miller, his in laws, Tom and Harriet Millis, and his sister in law Marleen Miller.
The family would like to thank Dr. Senffner and staff, the staff of Hospice of Humboldt, and the team at St Joseph’s Hospital for their care and assistance.
A celebration of Dick’s life and send off, “Hawaiian Style”, will be held at Cher Ae Heights Casino in Trinidad, Calif. on Jan. 21 at 3:30 in the afternoon.
If you care to donate, the Miller Families established a fund at the passing of Herb & Evelyn Miller. The Herb & Evelyn Miller Fund supports the youth and seniors of McKinleyville.
Donations can be made to Humboldt Area Foundation, 363 Indianola Rd., Bayside, CA 95524, in the name of the fund, and in memory of Dick Miller.