June 13, 1923 – December 1, 2013
Alvin Miller, known as Al to friends and family, passed away peacefully at home in the early hours on December 1, 2013, in the arms of Rachel, his wife of 69 years, the love of his life. He was born in the district of Leader Saskatchewan, on June 13, 1923.
Al was predeceased by his mother and father, Catherine and Henry Miller, his eight brothers, Henry, Peter, Fred, John, Jake, Dave, Alex and Hilbert, and two sisters, Mollie and Mary. Also predeceasing him were his nephews and nieces, Billie Miller, Rose (Miller) Ferns, Adam Miller, Harvey Miller, Irene (Miller) Schneider, and Lorene (Miller) Holstein.
He is survived by his wife Rachel, and daughters Elaine (Ron) Frey, and Bille (Rick) Fitzgerald. He has five grandchildren, Brenna (nee Frey) married to Greg Iwaskow, Kelly (Jen) Frey, Brent (Lisa) Fitzgerald, Andrea Fitzgerald (Brett Ranseth), and Paul Fitzgerald (Selena Stockley), two great-grandchildren, Zachary Iwaskow and Selena Iwaskow, as well as innumberable nieces and nephews.
Alvin grew up in Leader, Saskatchewan. In October of 1944, he married his sweetheart Rachel Holstein, in Rhein, Saskatchewan. They lived in and around the Leader district until 1950 when they moved to Medicine Hat. In 1958 they moved back to Leader where Al worked as a bus driver on a route from Leader to Swift Current. For a short time he was the sheriff in Leader, and then went back to school and got his journeyman mechanic papers. He worked as a mechanic at the Miller Ford dealership.
In 1966 he moved his family to Campbell River, B.C. where he was a mechanic for Steve Marshall Ford and then the G.M. dealership owned by Mr. Cruise. When Cruise Motors was purchased by Arthur and Chant, he worked as a mechanic and then as the body shop foreman. For many years he served as the union rep.
Family was everything to Al. He faithfully made the trip back to Leader every summer until he was 83 to visit his brothers and their families and renew acquaintances with old friends. He was a master story teller and would relate true stories of his family and friends, often assuming the accents of the people involved. Most of the stories were hilarious and he could keep a room full of people entertained for many hours. He loved telling and hearing good jokes. He was also self taught on the button accordion and had a beautiful tenor singing voice. Many house parties were enlivened by his singing and playing. He doted on his children and grandchildren and was interested in their welfare right up to the end.
Al loved living in Campbell River where he made many good friends. He was a member of long standing with the Fraternal Order of Eagles and the Campbell River Legion. He volunteered to call Bingo games at both clubs. He was a “handy man” and would keep the family cars running smoothly, fix electrical or plumbing problems in our homes. He would help friends and family whenever he could. Dad’s passion was politics. He liked nothing better than a good political “debate”. His hero was Tommy Douglas, the “Father of Medicare”. Towards the end, he kept Tommy’s picture on the table in front of him where he could always see his face.
Through it all, he had Rachel by his side. They were a formidable couple. They taught us all what it means to be loving, faithful, helpful and kind. What a team!
In lieu of flowers, you may send a donation to Dad’s favourite charities: the Diabetic Society, B.C. Cancer Society, Heart and Stroke Foundation, or a charity of your choice.