JULY 7, 1922 - JANUARY 12, 2015
Gene passed away peacefully in his home on January 12, 2015 at the age of 92.
Gene was born to Carrie and Charles Miller of Napoleon, Ohio. Gene had three siblings who preceded him in death, brothers, Jerry and Wade and sister Margerete.
Gene married Bonnie (Andrew) Miller on June 2, 1941, 73 years ago. Not only have they been married that long, but have known each other for 89 years. They were practically raised together. Gene moved to Toledo, Ohio in early grade school. They kept in touch throughout elementary and junior high school, when he came back to visit his grandparents on vacations.
For the last couple of years of high school Gene returned to live in Napoleon, allowing the two to go to school together. “He was the quarterback and a star”, Bonnie used to say. During high school their romantic connection was initiated by Gene’s brother, who offered to pay for their first date. The couple borrowed a ‘39 Chevy and went to a movie.
Soon after their marriage, Gene joined the Merchant Marines and spent a great deal of time away from Bonnie, who was staying with Gene’s sister.
Gene entered the service in November of 1942, served as a “Water Tender” aboard several ships during WWII.
While he was gone, Bonnie decided to go visit her mother in California and then moved there without telling him.
After service, Gene followed her out to Los Angeles and started work for McDonnell-Douglas/
Boeing Aircraft as a Flight Test Mechanic; working on DC-6, 7, 8, 9’s and DC-10s. After a few years with Douglas, he and five other fellow employees were sent all over the world repairing aircraft that had crash landed due to pilot error or otherwise. Gene retired in July of 1982, after 25 years.
During his time with McDonnell-Douglas, he became an avid skin-diver and dove in waters all over Southern California and Mexico. Gene was offered to do experimental testing with swim and scuba equipment. His love for diving prompted him to buy two different homes in Mexico’s Baja area, where he and his friends would visit quite often.
Gene and Bonnie purchased a 2-1/2 acre ranchette in Oakdale in 1980 and it was his pride and joy.
Gene was always a “fixer upper” kind of a guy. Everywhere they lived neighbors would ask his advice on how to fix or repair things. He had the knowledge and the tools to do so.
During Gene’s 35 years on the ranch, he had made many changes and always kept it looking good.
Gene was preceded in death by his daughter, Carrie Theal of Nevada City.
He is survived by his wife, Bonnie and one son, Doug Miller of Oakdale, two grandchildren, Clayton Miller of Escalon and Morgan Miller also from Escalon.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Wednesday, January 28 at 2pm at The Cow Track Lounge in Oakdale.
The Oakdale (Calif.,) Leader
Jan. 21, 2015