John Robert Miller passed away peacefully on January 21, 2019 at the age of 81.
John was one of two children born on November 1, 1937, to Earl and Vera (Hood) Miller.
Upon graduating from the Cedar Falls Campus School in 1955, John went on to study education and biology at Iowa State Teachers College (UNI). He completed his studies in 1959 and started working as a Junior high science teacher in Burlington, Iowa.
In 1961, John began farming. Farming was not only his career, but his passion. He enjoyed working the land and seeing the seasons change. He considered his business partners and associates as some of his best friends. Beyond planting and harvesting grain, John made conservation practices a priority. He implemented the usage of water ways, terraces and tiling. He viewed tall grass prairies as not just a means of conservation, but as a preserve which depicted the natural heritage of Iowa.
On June 14, 1959, John married Mary Lou Mamminga in Grundy Center. They moved into the main farm house on Strayer Road in 1966. They were the fourth generation of the family to occupy the house which was built in 1871.
While living on the farm, John and Mary raised their three children, Julie, Brad and Brian.
After a very rewarding and successful career in farming, John and Mary moved to Cedar Falls to become members of the Western Home Communities. As WHC residents they enjoyed socializing with the many friends they had made over the years.
John was preceded in death by his loving wife Mary in 2013. He is survived by his daughter Julie (Jay) Hinrichs of Overland Park, KS, Brad (Paula) Miller of Ormond Beach, FL and Brian (Jill) Miller of West Dundee, IL. Surviving grandchildren are Jared Hinrichs, Sam and Caroline Votaw and Quinn, Olivia and Kevin Miller. John loved his children and grandchildren dearly and was always interested in their activities and adventures.
John served the community as a member of the Board of Directors of the Cedar Valley Arboretum and the State of Iowa as a member of the Soil Conservation Commission. He was also a member of the Black Hawk County 4-H and FFA Fair Foundation. John received honors as Wallace’s Master Farmer and Iowa Conservation Farmer of the Year. John and Mary were honored as Host and Hostess of the Sturgis Falls Celebration parade. John was passionate about UNI athletics and the fine arts. He and Mary established scholarships endowment in their names to reflect their support of the university.
John was an avid and talented writer and photographer. Utilizing his quick wit and storytelling abilities, he composed the “Old Guy Newsletter” for 126 consecutive weeks. He loved to point out that there was a difference between “you are good looking and you’re looking good.”
Donations in John’s memory may be directed to the John and Mary Lou Mamminga Miller Endowed Biology Scholarship or Friends of the Tallgrass Prairie Center, UNI Foundation 204 Commons Cedar Falls, Iowa 50614.
A celebration of life is being planned for this summer in Cedar Falls.