Cover photo for Edward J. Miller's Obituary
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1933 Edward 2024

Edward J. Miller

January 3, 1933 — January 20, 2024

Following a 91-year life of devoted commitment to family and community, Edward James Miller, of Iola, Kansas, passed away January 20, 2024, at his home. Ed was born January 3, 1933, in Iola, Kansas "in the back bedroom of the home" to Horace L. Miller and Nannie Madge (Stover) Miller.

Ed graduated from Iola High School in 1951, where he was valedictorian. He was the recipient of the American Legion School Award in 1948 for Courage, Leadership, Honor, Service, Scholarship. He loved sports, especially basketball and quarterbacking the football team. He and his classmates kept in touch and gathered frequently over the decades.

He continued his education at the University of Kansas where he was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity, earning a bachelor's degree in business in 1955. His love for KU athletics was kindled, watching basketball games at Hoch Auditorium led by coach Phog Allen. He shared this love with the family, regularly attending KU sporting events, especially when Jay was a yell leader. Rock Chalk! Jayhawk! KU!

Following college, Ed served his country in the United States Navy from 1955 to 1957, where he was stationed at Subic Bay in the Philippines. Ed then returned to Iola to work with his father at H.L. Miller and Son, Inc., where he met Betty Hogue who was working there as a designer. Ed and Betty were married March 1, 1958, in Moulton, Alabama.

In the 1970's, Ed took over management of the family business. He was instrumental in supporting changes in state regulations to allow UPS to begin service in Kansas in August 1971. As an early adopter of technology, Ed installed a mainframe computer system to support the operations of the business. During those long days and late nights, Ed committed to rotational "Dinner with Dad", where he took one of his five kids to dinner on Wednesday night for quality one-on-one time.

To streamline the manufacturing process, he implemented modular manufacturing and computer aided pattern making and fabric cutting. There were many business trips to New York City and clothing markets around the country.

Ed was confirmed as a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Iola on April 1, 1945. He served the church in many capacities over the years, including Financial Secretary (1958-1961), Deacon (2006-2009), Elder (8 times, totaling 24 years, starting in 1961), youth group leader, Sunday School teacher, culminating in the role of Treasurer for many years of his retirement (2013-2021). He was a regular at Sunday services and attended via the YouTube broadcast for the last four years.

Ed served on the Board of Directors of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas from May 1974 to May 2015, where he was Chairman of the Board for two years. He also served as Southeast Kansas Mental Health Center Chair from 2005 to 2009 and Vice Chair from 2010 to 2014.

Ed was a board member at Allen Community College from 1975 to 1979 and retired from Iola Industries in 2021 after 33 years of service as a director of the board.

With all of his accomplishments in business and community service, Ed's biggest joys were closer to home, making memories with his family and attending and coaching the varied activities of his children and grandchildren, including track meets, cross-country meets, tennis, ballgames of all types, cheerleading, yell leading, plays, debates, spelling bees, band concerts, improv and anything the kids were doing. For three and a half years, Ed and Betty used every resource they could call upon to support their daughter Susan's courageous battle with cancer throughout her high school years.

The family took many road trips. One favorite outing was going to La Cuchara in Humboldt for Mexican food and Ed would treat the kids to a Peppermint Pattie or Andes mint at the cash register. Longer trips included the Lake of the Ozarks, taking the kids water skiing which he called "trolling for alligators," fireworks, grilling burgers, swimming, card games and family fun; yearly Alabama trips for gatherings
with Betty's family, pick up football and softball games, fishing, fish fries, cookouts and marshmallow roasts in the woods, trips to the Gulf Coast to play in the ocean and play beach volleyball and frisbee, chasing sand crabs, fishing, shrimp boils and blueberry pie; winter snow skiing and summer hiking in Angel Fire, New Mexico to visit his sister and family; and crossing paths with Don Bain and family at the Grand Canyon and again at Disneyland during a summer trip to California.

For his own activities, he loved fishing and hunting in his early years, playing tennis, jogging and bike riding in the early morning. Ed took pleasure in family game nights which included many card games, jigsaw puzzles and marathon rounds of dominoes.

He stayed active with morning exercise routines, including the treadmill, stationary bike, Wii balance games and free weights. Ed was fond of yard work, gardening and household projects. He was an active participant in the kitchen, including baking, making guacamole, and routinely doing the dishes.

In his quieter times he enjoyed reading books, crossword puzzles, cryptograms, jigsaw puzzles, and watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy.

In his later years, Ed looked forward to daily walks, especially in the cemetery, bi-weekly yoga and catnaps, his "mid-afternoon" snack, and laps around Walmart on bad weather days. He always remembered his two squares of 90% dark chocolate after every meal! He would close nighttime chats, saying "I love you" and waiting for the "I love you back" so he could close with "Back at ya!"

Ed is now reunited with his parents, as well as his daughter Susan, sister Nancy Mertz, brother-in-law Max Mertz, niece Margaret Mertz, nephew Aaron Mertz, daughter-in-law Karen, and son in-law John Wall.

Ed is survived by his wife Betty, children Jay, Beth, Nancy, and Bob (Heidi), grandchildren Drew (Laura), Alisa (Tommy), Bryan, William, Jonathan, Daniel, Vaughn, Ella, and Maeve, great-grandchildren Beckett, Margot, Lucas, and a baby boy due in April, and nephew Max (Valerie) Mertz and niece Patricia (Alex) Moayedi.

A visitation will be from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 4, 2024, in The Venue at Feuerborn Family Funeral Service, 1883 US Highway 54, Iola, Kansas. A Celebration of Life service will be at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, February 5, 2024, at the First Presbyterian Church, Iola, Kansas.

Inurnment with military honors will follow in Highland Cemetery, Iola, Kansas.

Memorials are suggested to the Iola First Presbyterian Church or THRIVE Allen County, and may be left with Feuerborn Family Funeral Service.

Condolences for the family may be left at www.feuerbornfuneral.com .
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Edward J. Miller, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation with Family Present

Sunday, February 4, 2024

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

The Venue - Feuerborn Family Funeral Service

, Iola, KS 66749

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Memorial Service

Monday, February 5, 2024

11:00 - 11:45 am (Central time)

First Presbyterian Church - Iola

302 East Madison Avenue, Iola, KS 66749

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Inurnment

Monday, February 5, 2024

12:00 - 12:15 pm (Central time)

Highland Cemetery (Allen County)

1800 North Cottonwood Street, Iola, KS 66749

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