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Melvin Ray Miller

November 23, 1937 November 10, 2021
Melvin Ray Miller
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Obituary for Melvin Ray Miller

Melvin Ray Miller (Mel) beloved Husband, Father and Papa was called home on November 10, 2021 wrapped in the love of his wife and holding his daughter’s hand. Mel was born in Spokane, Washington to Samuel Clay Miller and Madeline Grace Curry on November 23, 1937. Growing up in Hillyard post Great Depression shaped many of Mel’s philosophies in life. There was never a deal he didn’t love and he frequently drove across town to save 10 cents a gallon on gas or pick up a couple extra loaves of bread, which he would happily share with anyone who needed it. Mel loved growing up in Hillyard with his partners in crime, his big brother Ken (of whom he was infinitely proud), his cousin (and other brother) Richard (Dick) Miller and later his best friend Warren Starr. The stories of fast cars, fish, waterskiing at Loon Lake (Mel was extremely proud of his short ski, you’ve never seen anything like it), adventures at Deer Lake, football, mischief and fun put a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye until his very last day.

Mel loved sports of all kind. He lettered in many sports in high school and played basketball and football in college. He golfed weekly up until an old football injury in his hip took him off the links. We are comforted to know that now he is teeing up with a group of great friends, he had been recently missing, with a prime tee time anytime he wants.

Mel was in the United States Marine Corps Reserves from 1955 until 1959 and the U.S. Air National Guard from 1961 until 1964. Though he liked to tell us that the only contribution he ever made to the military was how fast he could peel potatoes, we are incredibly proud of his service to our country.

Mel married the love of his life Donna Marie Rowley, after being set up on a date by a mutual friend. After eloping to Lake Tahoe and getting married in the Little Chapel of Love by the Reverend Love (much to his new Mother-in-Laws dismay), Donna and Mel spent 44 years in Spokane raising two children, having adventures and in the most recent years reveling in their grandchildren. They loved to dance and frequently went dancing, where the height difference could sometimes prove challenging when Mel started doing his famous spin moves. They also loved to fish and camp and spent many summers at Lake Roosevelt just the two of them; spending the days fishing and the evenings overlooking the water, both with a good book.
Mel had many interesting jobs growing up, such as washing dishes while his Grandma Betty baked pies at the family restaurant, helping at his Uncle Bob’s grocery store, working for a meat packer and working for the Railroad. Mel spent his first career in beverage sales primarily with Lipton Tea, B&B Distributors and Joey August Distributers. He spent his retirement career as a semi driver for Federal Express. When he retired from Fed Ex, he was proud to have the honor at 77 years old of being Fed Ex’s oldest driver in the world. In all of his jobs, Mel made many friends and had many great stories to tell.
Mel’s passion outside of his family and fishing was cars. His knowledge of classic cars was endless and he had many classics over the years. He loved being part of The Dukes Auto Club and later part of the Good Guys Auto Club. One of his favorite pastimes was the many hours spent rebuilding his ’41 Chevy Hard Top with his great friend Oz (Wayne Aaseby).

In his final years Mel loved being a Papa to his Grandchildren. His Daughter, Dawnelle and her Husband Tom were lucky enough to live just two blocks away from Mel and Donna. Dawnelle and Tom’s children Jackson and Sophia spent many hours being snuggled with, read to, learning important life lessons and given “walking around money” by their dear Papa. Mel loved his son Ryan’s children Tiana and Kyler very much as well and frequently wished his body would cooperate with his minds desire to hop in the car and go see them.

In lieu of flowers, Mel would love for you to grab someone you love, raise a glass and share a story of a great time that you two had together. Mel was always there to lend a hand or give to those in need. He has instilled those lessons deep in his family. We ask that the next time you have the chance to help someone less fortunate, you do so with a smile and think of Mel. That would be a great honor to us and to him.

We will be having a Celebration of Life when the weather warms up. Details will follow. Please get your stories ready. If you knew Mel, you know how much he loved a good story.

To plant a tree in memory of Melvin Ray Miller, visit the Tribute Store.

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