William Wayne “Bill” Miller, 74, died on Tuesday, August 31st of pancreatic cancer at home surrounded by his family. Funeral services will be at Peace Lutheran Church in New London on Saturday, September 4th at 11:00 am. There will be a visitation on Friday, September 3rd at Peace Lutheran Church from 5:00-7:00 pm and continue one hour prior to the service at the church on Saturday. Burial will be in Lebanon Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred. A scholarship fund has been established at Peace for second career seminarian students. Arrangements are with Harvey Anderson Funeral Home in Willmar. www.hafh.org
William W. Miller was born May 22, 1947, the oldest son of Alfred and Florence (Holme) Miller. He grew up on the family farm south of Sauk Centre, MN. He attended a country school until 9th grade when began his studies at Crosier Seminary in Onamia, MN. He was there through high school and two years of college, a year at monastery, then transferred to SCSU with a Bachelor of Science Degree in music education. In 1975 Bill earned his Masters of Fine Arts Degree in Choral Conducting from the U of M.
Bill married Mary Elizabeth Kleber on December 30, 1972, in St. Cloud, where they met when he was the organist at Bethlehem Lutheran Church. After two years in St. Cloud, they moved to New London where Bill became the choral music director at New London-Spicer Schools. They made their home in New London for 36 years where they raised their three boys: Jeffrey, Matthew, and Mark. After 17 years of teaching and also serving as organist at Bethel Lutheran Church in Willmar, he became the Lay Minister of Music and Prayer at Peace Lutheran Church. During this time, Bill decided to pursue a degree in second career Pastoral Ministry from Pacific Lutheran Theology Seminary and Luther Seminary. He accepted the call as pastor at Kerkhoven Lutheran Church where he was Ordained in Word and Sacrament on July 31, 2011 and served for 6 ½ years, prior to his retirement. Still wanting to share ministry, Bill became one of the chaplains at Bethesda Grand in Willmar, a position he held for 3 ½ years.
From 1971-1990 Bill also was the accompanist and assistant for the MN All-State Lutheran Choir, which he looked forward to and enjoyed each summer.
Bill was known for being a faithful servant of the Lord, compassionate husband, dad, teacher, mentor, pastor and friend with a playful humor and boisterous laugh. He loved much, including watching sunsets by the lake, listening to and feeding birds, playing cards especially Cribbage and Hand and Foot, being in control of the TV remote, and eating favorite foods like his wife’s spaghetti, BBQ ribs, goulash, and of course blueberry pie. He loved spending time with the family, going to restaurants, day dates at the movie theater, and going for coffee and pie with his friends. He was respected, admired and loved by so many and will be greatly missed.
Surviving are his wife, Mary, of New London; sons and daughters-in-law: Jeff and Anna of Mapleton, ND, Matthew and Danielle of Eagle, CO and Mark and Tina of Otsego; and five grandchildren: Caris, Asher, Ava, Lincoln and Quincy. Also surviving are his sister and brother-in-law, Diane and Doug Ewing of Grasonville, MD and Bonita Springs, FL; his sister-in-law, Pam Miller of Lebanon, TN; and many nieces, nephews, and friends.
He was preceded in death by his father, Alfred, mother Florence, and his brother and sister-in-law, John and Julie.
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