Virgil Miller

Virgil Miller, 79, Velva, passed away Monday, March 10, 2014, at Trinity Hospital in Minot.

Virgil LeRoy Miller was born Oct. 5, 1934, in Grilley Township of Ward County, 10 miles south of Velva. He was the fourth oldest of 11 children born to Fred and Elna (Jensen) Miller. He was raised on the family homestead and educated in Velva, graduating from Velva High School in 1952.

Virgil enlisted in the Army on Jan. 22, 1955. He proudly served his country and was stationed in Fort Lewis, Wash., and Fort Ord, Calif. He was honorably discharged Jan. 27, 1957.

Following his honorable discharge from the Army, Virgil returned to Velva, where he started farming and working for his uncle, Clarence Miller.

In 1954, Virgil met the love of his life, Irene (Heisler) Erck at her parents’ cafe, where he ate lunch every day. Irene was living alone with her four children at the time and for Virgil, it was love at first site five-fold! He and Irene were united in marriage Feb. 22, 1956, in Velva.

Virgil was born a farmer and continued the Miller Family Farm, where he grew small grains and sunflowers. He raised a variety of livestock: pigs, chickens turkeys, sheep, horses, and of course his favorite of all, his cattle. He dedicated his life to caring for these animals and expanding his colorful vocabulary on these infuriating beasts. He truly enjoyed the calving season year after year. He received great pleasure watching the newborn calves instinctively learn to walk, nurse and play with their pasture-mates. While Virgil was farming and ranching, he also worked for Farmers Union Oil in Velva delivering fuel and fixing furnaces. He retired from Cenex in 1980. Virgil drove school bus for Velva Public School for over 20 years. During this time, he also delivered coal to several businesses and homes in Velva and the surrounding area. He retired from farming and ranching in January 2013.

He was a member of Oak Valley Lutheran Church in Velva, the Velva American Legion, the Velva Volunteer Fire Department, and the Velva City Park Board.

He was an avid outdoorsman who loved taking annual fishing trips to Canada with his friends and later his sons, sons-in-law and grandsons for 30 years. He also had an uncanny knack for giving his friends and family nicknames. He was an excellent marksman, which was proven by his many successful hunting trips for deer, moose, geese, pheasants and ducks.

His loving family includes: wife of 57 years, Irene, Velva; children, Jackie (Ed) Shook, Brandon, S.D., Gerald (Sandra) Erck, Garrison, Debra (Joe) George, Sisseton, S.D., Leon Erck, Rolla, Kim (Dennis) Seeb, Fargo, Terry Miller, Sparta, Wis., and Robert Miller (Julie Knutson), Garrison; grandchildren, Jayson (Laura) Shook, Michael Shook, Corey (Sarah) Erck, Monica Rensch, Erica Larson, Tyler Grandahl, Kyle Grandahl, Angela (Michael) Lindsey, Dustin (Shyla) George, Kassi Knutson, Matthew Knutson, and Emily Seeb; great-grandchildren, Logan and Kaden Shook, Nicholas and Sydney Erck, Morgan and Carter Rensch, Kyler and Hailie Larson, Macy, Natalie, Jackson, and Rachel Pargmann, Tanner Havel, Dustin and Taylor George; siblings, Ronnie (Peggy) Miller, Tacoma, Wash., Alden Miller, Velva, Dale (Jeanne) Miller, Bismarck, Betty (Dan) Kelner, Fargo, Donna Brekke, Helena, Mont., Audrey Miller (Donna Williams), of California, Deanna Miller, Spokane, Wash., and Sherry Miller, Sawyer; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

Virgil was preceded in death by his parents; infant son, David; siblings, Herald Miller, Gordon (Winnie) Miller, Eunice (Chester) Michaelson, and Gary Miller.

Funeral: Saturday, March 15, 2014, at 11 a.m., at Oak Valley Lutheran Church, Velva.

Interment: Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery, Velva.

Visitation: Today, March 14, from 4 to 7 p.m., at Thompson-Larson Funeral Home, Velva.

Memorials: The family prefers memorials to the Velva Public Library.

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