Thomas “Tom” Damien Miller, 73, of Freeland, Wash., after a long struggle with pulmonary fibrosis, passed away at home Nov. 14 with his wife Debbie by his side.
Tom was born Aug. 27, 1940, to Simon Peter Miller and Irene (Waller) Miller of Kellogg, Idaho. He was the youngest of nine children.
His love of the outdoors is legendary, including gardening, hiking, biking, skiing, backpacking, mountain climbing, fishing, trekking, road trips, plane trips and would have included a trip into space if he could have arranged it.
He was member of the Mountaineers for many years and made many lifelong friends because of his affiliation to the club. He viewed every day as an adventure. He was also crazy about lighthouses.
He graduated from Our Lady of Lourdes Academy High School in Wallace, Idaho and graduated from the University of Idaho.
Before retiring in 2000 he served as a crew scheduler and ground crewman for Pan American and then American Airlines. Working for those airlines helped him pursue many of his dreams.
In spite of his many personal challenges, he encouraged many to strive for more. Anyone who knew him and had joined him on a hike or climb would hear those encouraging words “we’re almost there, it’s just around the corner” or “the view is spectacular at the top.” Nothing made him stop until he reached the top or finished whatever he set out to do.
He is survived by his wife, Debra Miller; step-son, Edward Keimach; brother, James L. (Perina) Miller of Kellogg, Idaho; three sisters: Kay Major of Kellogg, Idaho; Patricia Oliver of Snoqualmie, Wash.; and Sue Ellen (Bill) Haas of Mitford, Ohio; three sisters-in-laws: Laurie (John) Hearn of Aptos, Calif.; Melanie Bednash of Granada Hills, Calif. and Gretchen Calderone of Canyon Country, Calif.
His two nieces, Jill (John) Bathurst and Kristy Oliver and partner Jim Myers, live on Whidbey Island, and because of their proximity Tom spent a lot of time with them.
We shared frequent dinners at the Oliver cabin, some very fun weenie roasts on Tom’s lot nearby in Lagoon Point and lots of salmon fishing. He has many other nieces and nephews spread across the states and the world.
He was preceded in death by his parents, three brothers: Bob Miller of Kellogg; Pete Miller of Seattle and William “Bill” Miller of Kellogg and one sister Jackie Lawrence who resided in Hoquiam, Wash.
Tom is now on his next adventure and his light will continue to guide all of us who he touched.
In keeping with his wishes, no service will be held. Donations may be made to Friends of Friends, PO Box 812, Langley, WA 98260, or to Habitat for Humanity of South Whidbey, Freeland, WA 98249.
Family and friends are encouraged to share memories and condolences at www.whidbeymemorial.com