Friday, August 26, 2022
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel
2120 Lake Michigan Dr., N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Followed by a time of sharing of memories
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
American Cancer Society
P.O. Box 10069
Detroit, MI 48210
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Ball Park Floral
8 Valley Ave.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Life Story / Obituary
Intelligent, calm, humble, and kind, William Carl Miller lived a life rich in family and friends. Bill was slow to anger and possessed a quick wit that resulted in classic one-liners and required careful listening. He loved being outdoors, especially trout fishing, and was a very handy man. Both humble and kind, Bill proved a steadfast source of support for those he loved. A loving husband, father, and grandfather, Bill will long be remembered and ever so missed.
1943 marked a time when the war effort in Europe directly impacted all American lives. While Frank Sinatra and Glenn Miller filled the airways for Virginia (Roh) and William J. Miller, it was a particularly exciting time as they welcomed their son, Bill, into their family on August 1, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The oldest of the Millers' two children, Bill was a great older brother to his sister, Barbara the two were very close. Growing up, Bill lived on Richmond St. near Remembrance Road where he attended Walker Station Elementary. The family explored their faith at St John United Church of Christ, where Bill played softball in the church league. Bill attended Union High School, where he participated in the school's stage production of "South Pacific" and played football.
After graduating High School in the class of 1961, Bill started college at Michigan Tech. After completing his freshman year in college he returned to Grand Rapids for the summer and got a summer job. Bill started working concessions at the Vista Drive-In in Standale, where he had his first encounter with Caroleen Klinkner. Bill happened to be near by when a Miller Moth was flying around the popcorn machine. Caroleen yelled, "Get out of here, Miller!" To which he jokingly replied, "OK." Instantly smitten, Bill and Caroleen's first date was at the drive-in, and they soon fell in love.
With their hearts set on building a future together, he and Caroleen married on September 1 at St John's United Church of Christ. Their honeymoon was spent traveling back up north for school, including stopping and walking across Mackinac Bridge on Labor Day. The newlyweds settled into married housing, and while Bill attended classes, Caroleen worked at a local records store for a year before taking a job as a secretary in the mechanical engineering department at the university. Bill loved living in Houghton. A Yooper at heart, he spent a lot of time fishing, mostly for pike. He and Caroleen ate a lot of fish until Caroleen finally said, "no more!"
While still a student, Bill and Caroleen began their family with the birth of their first son, Bill, in 1965. After graduating in 1966 with a forestry degree, the family moved to Allendale, Michigan, where Bill worked for American Seating for a few years. Their family grew when they welcomed two more sons; Richard, in 1967 and Michael, in 1972. The family moved to Charlotte, Michigan, and made their home there for ten years. From there, they moved to Missouri, where they stayed for seven years before returning to the Wyoming/Grandville area until 1998. Eventually, they purchased their home in Ravenna.
The family enjoyed many wonderful times at their cabin in Ruby Creek, Michigan, spending much of their days outdoors fishing and hunting. Every summer, Bill's family rented a place near Newaygo and welcomed everyone to join them there. The Family took many camping trips in the Upper Peninsula with a pop-up camper and blue canoe. Hog Island was a favorite destination. Many fond memories were made driving logging roads and picking wild blueberries. When Mike played hockey, Bill was a coach; he loved being involved and helping out. Though he had no sense of rhythm and couldn't dance, he liked music and would listen to anything. Elvis, Kingston Trio, and Neil Diamond were favorites. Once, when Mike searched for his missing Quiet Riot cassette, he learned that Bill had borrowed it to listen on his ride to work.
A man who enjoyed the simple things in life, Bill's love of fishing continued to call him to the local waters. He enjoyed fishing for trout on the Pere Marquette and Betsie rivers. He also enjoyed hunting deer and pheasant. In later years he turned his skills to hunting the squirrels who persistently tried to dominate his beloved bird feeders. He and Caroleen spent a lot of time golfing together on mixed leagues at Scott Lake, Ravenna Creek, and Duncan Hills Country Club in Missouri. Bill also loved spending time on his computer, a retirement gift from Caroleen. Enamored by Lake Superior, he particularly enjoyed tracking barges as they came into and across Lake Superior from Duluth, Minnesota. Favorite meals included asparagus, roast beef with gravy and buttered noodles, and sweets. He enjoyed ice cream, pies, and cinnamon rolls, and there were always homemade cookies in the freezer. Bill liked to wear things that were comfortable, including sleeveless sweatshirts and old, well-worn shoes.
A really handy man, Bill always had a project to tend to, and his free time was typically spent outside, walking the yard fishing, keeping track of the pileated woodpeckers, and taking the grandkids on lawn mower rides. Despite not seeing his grandkids often, Bill kept up on all their interests and special events. He and Caroleen also enjoyed spending time with their long-time friends, Howard and Neda Hoffman, whom they met while at Michigan Tech.
Five years ago, Bill had an aortic aneurysm burst, where he technically died. However, after enduring major surgery, being intubated, and an extended stay in the hospital, he beat the 3% odds of survival and began a new lease on life. Each year, on the anniversary of "The Event," as it was labelled, Bill's sister reminded him with a special birthday card marking and celebrating his bonus time! Recently, during a follow-up exam, a leak was discovered, and a risky surgery scheduled. Sadly, once the procedure was underway, the doctor could not successfully repair the leak; as a result, Bill died.
Without a doubt, life feels less certain in the absence of Bill's steadfast presence. May we find much comfort in our many treasured memories and in the honor of carrying his legacy forward. With each line we cast, putt we sink, song we enjoy, long walk we take, cookie we bake, bird we feed, and quiet moment we share with our loved ones, we celebrate the many ways Bill gifted our lives. In this way, we keep his spirit alive and inspiring others as he so inspired us.
Mr. William C Miller, age 79, of Ravenna, passed away on August 20, 2022. Bill is survived by his wife of 60 years, Caroleen; sons, William A. (Annette) Miller, Richard J. (Margaret) Miller, and Michael K Miller; grandchildren, Melody, Liam, Maxwell, and Benjamin Miller. Also surviving are his sister, Barbara Marlink; brother-in-law, Wayne (Helen) Klinkner; sister-in-law, Susan (George) Kleibusch; and his nieces, nephews, and cousins. Visitation will be held from 6-8 PM, followed by a time of sharing, on Friday, August 26, 2022, at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – Alt and Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Contributions in his memory may be made to American Cancer Society. Please visit www.heritagelifestory.com to read Bill's life story, submit a favorite memory or photo or sign the guestbook.