Ross Charles Miller, 96, of Sugar Grove, formerly of Aurora, passed away July 16, 2018 at Delnor Hospital in Geneva. He was born in Mendota, IL on August 7, 1921, the son of Leigh and Elsie (Rohde) Miller. He married Betty Lou Trierweiler on November 8, 1947 in Aurora, IL. They were inseparable for 70 years of marriage. Since Betty’s passing last November, he had a broken heart. They are now together again.
Ross attended East Aurora High School and in 1939 enlisted in the U.S. Navy. While in the Navy, he was based on the West Coast and in Hawaii, and served on nine ships including: the Battleship North Carolina; Aircraft Carriers Saratoga, Lexington, & Midway; Cruisers Fall River, Toledo, & Bremerton; and Destroyers Carpenter and Larson. He was awarded 16 Medals and 17 Stars. While serving on the Fall River, he was involved in the Bikini Atoll Atomic Bomb testing. While serving on the North Carolina, the ship was torpedoed. Ross served with honor for 30 years, during World War II and the Korean War, achieved the rank of Chief Petty Officer as Chief Boilerman, and retired from active duty in 1959. He served for 10 more years in the reserves and retired from the Navy in 1969. He was meticulous in his daily note-taking and recording the events of his day, a practice which he began in the Navy and continued throughout his life. Ross was also one of a handful of sailors pictured in Life Magazine in 1941; the sailors were walking down a street in New York City and were invited in to watch Gypsy Rose Lee perform on stage.
Upon retiring from active duty, Ross and Betty moved back to Aurora. Ross worked at Caterpillar, then at Copley Hospital where he spent 26 years as the Superintendent of Maintenance. After retirement from Copley, he worked for 19 years as the Maintenance Manager at the Fox Valley Girl Scout Office.
Ross believed in the importance of serving his community and his church, and did so in a number of capacities throughout the years. He was a volunteer with the Boy Scouts for 18 years and with the Girl Scouts for 24 years. He attended ten Girl Scout National Conventions. In 2000, he received the Thanks Badge, the highest award given in Girl Scouting.
Ross served for 16 years in the PTA. For part of that time he was President of the Hall Grade School PTA and later was President of the West Aurora High School PTA, as well as Treasurer for the Aurora West Council PTA. He received Life Membership from the PTA in 1970 for his service. He also served as Treasurer of the Engineers Association for the Aurora area.
Ross also was a member of the church council at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Aurora for six years. He and Betty organized and lead the Adult Fellowship Group at that church from 1975-2000. For the last several years, Ross was a devoted member of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Aurora.
Additionally, Ross served as President for the Fox Valley Retired Military Association and was a member since 1972. He was a member of the Fleet Reserve Association since 1983, and a member of the USS North Carolina Battleship Association.
Ross was also a member of the Loyal Order of the Moose, Aurora Lodge #400 for 73 years. He joined in 1945, and became a Life Member in 1995. He was a member of the Moose Legion since 1981. He was also a member of American Turners Club since 1998, and the Tiger Club since 1994, where he also was a life member.
Ross had a passion for travel, and he and Betty enjoyed many trips to California and Iowa as well as voyaging on 38 cruises around the Caribbean, Hawaii, Tahiti, Alaska, New England, Mexico, Panama Canal, and Greece. Ross was a serious player of cards, and along with Betty frequently hosted parties and family gatherings. Ross was an enthusiastic consumer of desserts and ice cream, and the occasional whiskey or margarita. He also enjoyed attending concerts and shows, with Betty by his side.
Ross loved and took great pride in his children and grandchildren, often sharing stories about them. He taught them about life and taught them how to fix things. Ross could and did fix anything and everything for those he loved (including injured stuffed animals and other toys when his children and grandchildren were young). He was a maker, and he crafted grandfather clocks for Betty and his children, along with other treasured pieces.
Most of all, Ross loved and adored his wife, Betty. They were always together, and their love for one another was obvious, inspiring, and contagious. They were crazy about each other, and they delighted in shenanigans together. Ross and Betty made each other laugh, and told stories (and possibly tall tales) that made everyone else laugh, too. Ross’ life story is remarkable and inextricably intertwined with hers. Their lives were extraordinary, in no small part because they were together.
Ross is survived by his children Deborah (Ken) White of Bristol and Larry (Tracey) Miller of Foothill Ranch, California; three grandchildren: Kristin Good of Crystal Lake, Liam Miller, and Eve Miller, both of Foothill Ranch, California; sisters Ruth Beckner of Bartlett and Marion (Carl) Beckner of Aurora; and many cousins, nieces, and nephews. Ross also had countless friends, and was grateful for them all. He was especially blessed to have wonderful neighbors Bob and Cheryl Airhart.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Betty Miller, in November 2017, his father Leigh Miller (1976), his mother Elsie Peterson (1977), his step-mother Edna Miller (1986), sisters Alma Trierweiler (1995), Helen Lamb (2004), Carol Miller (1935), half-brother Howard Peterson (1969), step-brother Raymond Thomas (1992), sister-in-laws Leta Peterson (1969), Grace Hord (1985) and Emma Thomas (1993), brother-in-law’s Edward Trierweiler (1970), Cleo Lamb (1982), Walter Hord (1987), and Earl Beckner (2015).
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 15, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. with military honors to follow, and a gathering of family and friends will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 27 S. Edgelawn Dr., Aurora, IL, 60506. Interment will be private at Lincoln Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to St. Mark’s Lutheran Church.