Frederick A. Miller, 1949

Spring 2017 (May 1, 2017)

Frederick A. Miller, age 89, died at King’s Daughters Home Sept. 12, 2016.

Fred was born Dec. 1, 1926, in La Crosse, Wis., to Frederick and Mathilda (Ideker) Miller. He and his five siblings were raised in Brownsville, Minn., in a home overlooking the beautiful Mississippi River. After graduating from high school in 1944, Fred enrolled at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. His studies were interrupted when he was drafted into the U.S. Navy in March of 1945. He often said that although the Navy food was terrible, at least he learned a useful skill: typing. After discharge he resumed his studies at Luther College, graduating in 1949. He earned his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Iowa State University, where he met his future wife, Elaine, and made life-long friends, some of whom also ended up in Midland, and whose friendship and support he valued until his final days.

The Dow Chemical Company hired Fred in 1953, and he and Elaine, whom he had married on Dec. 21, 1951, moved to Midland where they established a home and raised their four children on Glendale Street. Fred and Elaine were charter members of Midland’s Aldersgate United Methodist Church where he took on the role of financial secretary and sang for many years in the church choir. In addition to a life-long love of flower gardening, Fred pursued a battle of wits against the squirrels that raided his birdfeeder. In his later years, he took special pleasure in writing a memoir of his childhood, allowing him to share with his children and grandchildren his family history and the antics of the colorful characters that populated the boyhood town he loved so much.

Fred enjoyed a 33-year career as a research chemist in the synthetic latex field, retiring in 1986. He and Elaine loved retirement and kept young through volunteer activities, tending their flower gardens, doting on their grandchildren and taking many trips both abroad and within the U.S. to visit family and friends. If it was a summer evening, you would probably find Fred tuned in to the Detroit Tigers game: win or lose, he got great pleasure watching his favorite baseball team. After 46 years of marriage, Elaine died in 1998.

Fred married the former Joan Pfruender on Sept. 11, 1999, and she provided much love and support in his final years. Both of their families were so pleased that they could share their golden years, and glad they were able to celebrate their 17th anniversary the day before he died. In addition to his wife, Fred is survived by his children, Steven (Cheri Fulton) of Hyattsville, Md., Betsy (David) Hoggatt of Pittsboro, Ind., Julie (Charles) Dukes of Midland, and Mary Miller of Traverse City; his eight grandchildren: Emily Miller Burgess, Ben Miller; Tom, Helen and Peter Dukes; and Will, Meredith and Joe Hoggatt; and the world’s most adorable great-granddaughters: Paisley Caroline and Lyla Jane Burgess. He also leaves his brothers Marvin (Etta) of Harlingen, Tex., and Melvin (Lorene) of Brownsville, Minn.; his sisters, Marian Lowrey of Hudson, Ohio, and Marlene (Ron) Levendoski of Brownsville, Minn.; Elaine’s sister-in-law Diane Peterson of Fairview, Tex.; and Joan’s children and their families: Daniel, Richard, David, Dean, Diane and Dawn. In addition to his first wife, Fred was predeceased by a brother, Donald Miller; by Elaine’s siblings: Eleanor, David, Margaret, Charles and Elizabeth; by his brother-in-law Donald Lowrey; and by Joan’s son Donald Pfruender. Fred’s family thanks the staff of King’s Daughters Home and Heartland Hospice for tending to his needs with such kindness and compassion during his final years.

Funeral Services for Fred were held Sept. 15, 2016, at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 2206 Airfield Lane. Pastor Michael T. Sawicki officiating. Fred’s family received friends at Ware-Smith Woolever Funeral Home, 1200 West Wheeler Street. Those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to consider Aldersgate United Methodist Church or King’s Daughters home of Midland.

Frederick Miller