A Service of Remembrance was held January 10 at Slininger-Schroeder Funeral Home in Jefferson for Gary Ray Miller, 70, of Grand Junction.
Words of comfort were offered by Pastor Steve Ransom of the First United Methodist Church in Grand Junction. Honorary bearers were Kenny Madison, Carl Allbee, Dave Coon, Bug Gunn, Tim Webb, Jerry Groves and Rick Comer.
Casket bearers were Jeff Strabley, Jon Strabley, Jac Strabley, Wayne Kafer, Robert Kafer, Mark Renslow and Nick Webb. Interment was at the Junction Township Cemetery at Grand Junction.
Gary Ray Miller, son of Pauline Kiner Miller and Ray Miller, was born Sept. 3, 1947, in Jefferson and died Jan. 6, 2018, at the Greene County Medical Center in Jefferson at the age of 70 years.
Gary grew up in Grand Junction and attended Grand Junction High School. Gary went to work for his dad Ray and later took over Miller Plumbing and Heating. On Sept. 11, 1976, Gary was united in marriage to Mary Ann Kersey. They were the proud parents of two children, Brian and Patsy. They made their home in Grand Junction.
Gary loved to visit. When you ran into Gary you better not be in a hurry because his conversations were never short. Gary was the type of person who would give you the shirt off his back and it wouldn’t matter if he knew you or not. You could call him anytime day or night and he would be there willing to help and never ever expected anything in return.
Gary also had a great passion for tractor pulls and racing. He loved to build them, work on them and more importantly seeing them out on the track winning. His famous words before each race were “If you tear this up, I’m not fixing it,” yet he was the first one to unload it at 9 am the next day. Working on his grandkids go-carts helped fulfill his own passion and relive his own go-cart days.
His love for farming was a very close second. He was in pure heaven when he was out in the field and driving the tractor with his best friend Nick Webb and crew. The bond these guys had was untouchable.
Gary also had a passion for the color red. Every tool of his was painted red so he knew if any of his tools were missing he could recognize them by the paint. And when we say all his tools, we mean ALL his tools and maybe even Jon Strabley’s go cart motor, haha.
Most of all Gary was the happiest when he was helping others. Not a day went by that someone wouldn’t try to pick up the phone and try to see if he could help out. He was always the first anyone ever called.
He was a jack of all trades. He claimed he could save Patsy money by building her a bike rack and welded her one, only to have someone pull up beside the vehicle to tell him he’s dragging some bikes behind the camper. Gary never lived that one down. Or when he was welding in Brian’s garage and a spark flew near the gas tank and started a fire, so he handed the tank to Brian and said, “here take this,” and continued to weld.
Everybody always loved to pick on him, including the time his sleeve was on fire and once he noticed he turned around and said, “I thought my arm was getting hot” and laughed. Or if Robert drew his name at Christmas time you knew his present would be duck taped, zip tied and would require multiple tools to open.
Gary loved to be active. He loved to wrestle his grandkids. You never knew who to yell at, the kids or Gary.
And as much as Gary loved his goodies, so did his grandkids. His grandkids often emptied his secret stash in the shop and wouldn’t leave any for him. To stop this he put a lock on the drawer so they had to ask, yet this didn’t stop Degan trying to pry open the drawer. He lived for this kind of stuff.
Many voids are left now that will never in this lifetime be filled but we all know “that there” life he lived was lived to the fullest.
Gary was preceded in death by his parents Pauline and Ray Miller. He is survived by his wife Mary Ann Miller of Grand Junction; his son Brian (Brenda) Miller of Grand Junction; his daughter Patsy Miller of Grand Junction; grandchildren Kelsi Miller, Grant Miller, and Degan Miller; his sister Marilyn (Mike) Mogensen of Arizona; nieces and nephews; and other relatives and friends.