Our dear brother, uncle and friend, Fr. John Pa trick Miller passed into the hands of our Creator, Wednesday, September 2 2, 2 0 2 1.
John fought the good fight, an 8-month battle with cancer and passed away at home in the company of friends and family.
He was born May 5, 1 9 4 8, C in co de Mayo, in O’Neill, Nebraska, the Irish capitol of Nebraska. John lived his early life in O’Neill until he left for college in Peru, Nebraska. He was the first of three boys born to Marvin and Mary Constance (Golden) Miller.
John discovered Montana the summer of 1 9 6 9 when he worked for the National Park Service at the Custer Battlefield where he worked seasonally until 1 9 7 5.
He graduated from Peru State College in 1 9 7 0 and moved to Billings where he taught school until 1 9 7 4 when he was accepted a s a seminarian for the Diocese of Helena. His theological studies took him to St. Thomas in Denver, Colorado.
Bishop Elden Francis Curtis ordained John a s a priest a t St. Patrick Church in Billings, Montana May 1 9,
1 9 7 8 . At this time, John went on a doctoral journey which took him to Montana State University and in residence at Holy Rosary Parish. John completed all the class work for an PhD. but did not complete the dissertation. Following this, he left for a one-year study sabbatical to Rome and the Vatican.
Back home in the Diocese of Helena he chose to become a pastor serving at St. John’s Parish in Frenchtown for 5 years, followed by 16 years at St. Anthony’s in Missoula and his last 1 1 years at St. Richard’s Parish in Columbia Falls.
Fr. John was greatly loved by his parishioners. He retired with senior status in 2 0 1 5. In retirement he then traveled throughout the United States and world promoting the work of Catholic Relief Services.
Father John had many passions he followed with great dedication. He loved people a nd truly never met a stranger. He started traveling a s early a s high school and it would be hard to describe all his many, varied trips. Two of his favorite trips were to South Africa and the very moving 75th anniversary of D-Day in France.
He also found a wonderful home in the cruising world. It was great to discover that Cruise Ships need Catholic priests to conduct Sunday services. He and his father, Marvin, took many cruises together all over the world.
He was a dedicated and focused bridge player; a game which introduced him to a whole world of new friends. It could truly be said that this great man loved every aspect of life and lived it to the fullest.
John was predeceased by his parents, his younger brother, Bob (only five months earlier).
He is survived by his brother Thomas (Mildred), and sons: Christian (Philadelphia), Colin and Owen
(New York) and his brother Bob’s children: Emily (Oregon) and Benjamin (Colorado).
We thank these undaunted and indefatigable friends during his 8-month odyssey: D r. George Reed, Fr. Frank McCormick, his brother, Tom, who spent months away from his family caring for John and numerous other caring friends, including Kathy and Linda and too many others to mention.