Paul E. Miller
Paul E. Miller

May 2, 1925 - February 5, 2016
Resided in Aurora, CO
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Obituary

Dr. Paul Edwin Miller, PhD of Aurora, Colorado, passed away February 5, 2016, at the age of 90 years, 9 months, and 3 days. A Memorial Service will be held Sunday, February 21st at 2 PM at Horan & McConaty Funeral Service at 11150 East Dartmouth Avenue, Aurora, Colorado 80014.

Paul was born in Hodgeman County, Kansas near the town of Jetmore to farmers Harry and Jessie (Kimmel) Miller on May 2, 1925. He grew up with his parents, older brother Howard, younger sister Helen, and younger brother Charlie. Paul and Howard were especially close and enjoyed doing things together, such as swimming in the nearby creek.

The devout Millers belonged to the local Presbyterian church. Graduating from high school in 1943, Paul intended to go straight into his father's occupation of farming. However, with World War II in progress and a dearth of farming-type jobs available, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Navy. During his service, Paul was stationed on Guam, where he contracted rheumatic fever and spent most of his enlistment recovering in the hospital. After his Honorable Discharge, Paul decided to use his GI Bill benefits to attend Fort Hays Kansas State College (now named Fort Hays State University) for a year so he could improve his agricultural knowledge and wait for the farming industry to recover enough for him to farm. Fate had a different idea, however! After his first year in college, the farming industry still had not recovered. Additionally, Paul had become enamored of a young Kansas woman, Bonnie DeBusk, whom he had met in freshman English class. Both were excellent students, having qualified as Salutatorians of their respective high school graduating classes. This relationship was serious. So Paul, since he would eventually be a family man needing a stable income, decided it would be prudent to earn a teaching degree just in case farming should prove an impractical way to support a family. Paul thus went on to complete his Bachelor's Degree in Industrial Arts, while Bonnie completed her degree in English and Journalism. The couple married in 1948 after their sophomore year and finished their respective degrees in 1950 – both graduating with honors.

After college graduation, the newlyweds moved to Scott City, Kansas where Paul taught school and Bonnie worked for the local paper. At another point, Paul decided to go into custom cabinet-making. Eventually, the consumer demand for custom cabinets dropped off, and so Paul was happy to have that Education degree and teaching certificate to fall back on. Paul and Bonnie started raising a family, eventually consisting of daughter Dee and son Bradley (Brad). After a few years, the family moved to Augusta, Kansas where Paul again taught in the school system while Bonnie stayed home with the children. It was during this time-frame that Paul personally designed and built the family home in Augusta, complete with beautiful wood floors and cabinetry. The floors and cabinetry were still in mint condition some 50 years later – a testament to Paul's skills and dedication to doing things right.

Paul and his family then moved to Haysville, Kansas – a suburb of Wichita – in 1960 as Paul had been recruited to join the very first faculty at Campus High School. Paul taught industrial arts "wood shop" and later started the very first Campus High School chapter of the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America (VICA). There had been a new-born emphasis on preparing non-college bound students for the workforce and so Paul's interests had increasingly turned towards vocational technical training. Paul also became interested in square dancing and square dance calling. In fact, he started the first square dance club at Campus High. The whole family quickly became proficient at singing all the square-dance call verses to Paul's favorite "King of the Road" (whether they wanted to or not). While at Campus, Paul also earned his Master's Degree from Colorado State College (now named University of Northern Colorado) in Greeley. Paul earned this degree over three summers while teaching at Campus High School during the school year. The family went with Paul in the summers and became very fond of Colorado. During the school year, Paul remained teaching woodshop and vocational education at Campus High School. During this time, his wife Bonnie was also pursuing her teaching career in English and Journalism.

In 1970, Paul was named one of two educators nationally to receive a stipend to attend a doctoral program in Administration of Vocational Education. As the program included master's level study as well as doctoral level and Paul already had a Master's Degree, Paul was able to spend his time working on his PhD at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. After having successfully defended his dissertation, Paul was awarded his PhD. His first professional assignment, post-doctoral studies, was at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. He soon found that the "publish or perish" environment at the university level was not to his liking. Paul wanted to use his doctoral level education in administration of vocational education.

Fortunately, in the fall of 1974, Paul was named the Assistant Director in charge of post-secondary education at T.H. Pickens vocational/technical school (now Pickens Technical College) in Aurora, CO. This was the position of his dreams and Paul dedicated himself to his new role. However, tragedy struck the day before Thanksgiving in 1974 when Bonnie suddenly died of a heart attack in her classroom at Niwot High School. At the time, Paul was very grateful to have the position he did. He again threw himself into his work; his dedication to his work and career always saw him through. In addition, God saw fit to send Paul an angel in the form of Shirley Ann Weaver (Seath). Shirley worked at Pickens as a media specialist. Shirley invited Paul to a University of Colorado football game and the two hit it off very well. They married in 1976, purchasing their home in the Heather Gardens south townhouse section, where they happily resided for the remainder of their lives. With the marriage, two additional grown children joined the blended family: Shirley's daughters Brenda and Lori, who quickly moved into Paul's heart along with wife Shirley.

It was evident to all throughout their marriage that Paul and Shirley were completely dedicated to each other. Both before and after retirement they enjoyed attending football games at the University of Colorado and watching the Denver Broncos and other sports teams on TV. They traveled, sometimes just weekend trips to the mountains of Colorado/Wyoming, but also took longer trips to Pagosa Springs in Colorado, as well as Alaska, Hawaii, and even the Holy Lands. They were active members of Greenwood Community Church, where they attended services regularly. They also participated in more secular activities such as playing cards (especially with niece Kim) and, for a time, they square danced, with Paul sometimes calling the dances. As the years passed, they focused on time with friends, including a men's weekly breakfast group that Paul attended. They visited their children/spouses, grandchildren, and – even got acquainted with some of the great grandchildren (who all live outside the state of Colorado).

The years passed by quickly. Shirley's younger daughter Lori passed away of cancer in 2010. Shirley was eventually diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Ultimately, Paul became Shirley's caregiver in addition to being her husband. Yet, throughout their many trials, Paul and Shirley remained united and steadfast in their love for each other and for their family. They still held hands and enjoyed each other's company. They took pleasure in the small, daily joys of living. In fact, the couple was close to celebrating their 39th year of wedded bliss when Shirley went to be with the Lord in April, 2015. Although Paul valiantly tried to keep going without Shirley, his heart belonged to his beloved; he had even told her that he would follow her soon. We believe he has now reunited with Shirley since his passing on February 5th, 2016. We miss him – and her. All of us who knew Paul – and his precious Shirley – are fortunate to have had them in our lives.
Paul is survived by his loving family: Daughter Dee Miller Pierce and husband Dale Pierce, Aurora, CO; son Brad Miller, New Orleans, LA; (step) Daughter, Brenda Pope, Overland Park, KS; also Brother Charles (Charlie) Miller, Alva, OK.

Grandchildren: Dylan Miller (wife, Kristin), Port Saint Lucie, FL; Nicole Miller, New Orleans, LA; Isaac Miller, New Orleans, LA; (step) Seath Rickard, Grand Junction, CO; (step) Kenna Rickard, Loveland, CO; (step) Brian Pope (wife, Shannon), Omaha, NE; (step) Kevin Pope, Dillon, CO; (step) Megan Lueke (husband, John), Overland Park, KS; Great-grandchildren: Christopher and Cayden Miller, Port Saint Lucie, FL; (step) Easton and Holden Pope, Omaha; NE. Also survived by many other relatives and friends.

Preceded in death by his parents Harry and Jessie Miller; brother Howard Miller; sister Helen Miller; wife Shirley Miller; 1st wife Bonnie DeBusk Miller; (step) daughter Lori Rickard; (step) grandsons, Eric Pope (Brenda's son) and Patrick Pierce (Dale's son). Also preceded in death by many other relatives and friends.

Memorials may be sent to: Alzheimer's Association Colorado, 455 Sherman Street, Suite 500, Denver, CO 80203, the Westley family at www.helpwestleyfamily.org or to The Wild Animal Sanctuary at www.wildanimalsanctuary.org. Or, you may memorialize Paul by giving to another charity of your choice.

Please share your memories of Paul and condolences with his family by signing the guestbook below.

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Service
Horan & McConaty - Parker
11150 E Dartmouth Ave
Aurora, CO US 80014
Sunday, February 21, 2016
2:00 PM