Miller loved life, family, community
Charles Miller was an adventurous man and a family man, doing different things throughout his life while successfully raising three girls with his wife and helping his community.
Before his marriage, he lived in Southern California, where he worked as a baker, rode a motorcycle and took flying lessons.
A father of three in his 30s, he enlisted in the U.S. Army during World War II, serving under Gen. George S. Patton.
Even after he retired, he became a commercial fisherman.
“My father was a great father and a great provider,” said Carol Barber of Marysville, his youngest daughter. “He had a tremendous love of life, love of family and love of community.”
Charles “Charlie” Miller, 94, of Marysville died Aug. 15. Born in Pandrup, Denmark, he was a Yuba-Sutter resident for 68 years.
As a 5-year-old, he and his family arrived in the United States in South Dakota, later settling in Omaha, Neb., where his parents purchased a bakery.
Charlie moved to Venice in California as a young man, working as a baker for a few years and continuing the family tradition for the fifth generation.
“He came home red and sunburned,” said Winona Miller of Marysville, his wife of 73 years, remembering the first time she saw her future husband in Omaha. “He looked just like (actor) Alan Ladd. He was so handsome.”
The two were married about a year later in 1933, when she was “almost 17” and he was 21.
After developing an allergy to flour and needing a warmer climate, Charlie settled his family in the Yuba-Sutter area.
But before becoming a longtime painting and sandblasting contractor in the community, he and his two brothers enlisted during World War II.
“I don't believe in war, but some things are worth fighting for,” he told his family, Carol said. He never talked about the dark side of his experiences, instead telling stories about funny events.
Charlie had a shop next to the house in Linda, where he mixed paints for his business. His daughters loved watching him, Carol said.
“You used these little tubes and cans of colors (to blend a desired color), sometimes from a little swatch of paper,” she said. “We always thought it was marvelous.”
Already active in the community, Charlie saw a real need for fire protection in the Linda area. He became the first volunteer fire chief for the Linda Fire Department, where he served for more than 20 years, and helped develop the Linda County Water District.
“I can remember his putting his boots next to his bed and telling us not to bother them,” Carol said, in case he needed them during the night.
“He believed in bettering your community and helping others,” Carol said. “He said, ‘Life's been good to me, and I should be good to my community,'” Carol added.
While busy in the community, he also found time to go into partnership with another man to buy pieces of black walnut and make them into gun stocks. He also owned a gold mine in the Sierra.
And he still found time to bake an occasional bread at home and make jelly and jam.
His retirement at the age of 62 didn't slow him down. With his boat, “Jeronimo,” he became a commercial fisherman out of Fort Bragg. He and Winona lived in that area for six months of each year for several years.
“He loved life, and he loved his family,” Carol said. “And he let all of us know.”
Appeal-Democrat reporter Leticia Gutierrez can be reached at 749-4722. You may e-mail her at email@example.com