Kenneth Raymond Miller
March 28, 1920 - Aug. 1, 2006
Kenneth Raymond Miller, 86, of Evansville, a former longtime resident of Pewaukee, died peacefully from chronic lung disease at the Evansville Manor Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on Aug. 1, 2006.
He is survived by his daughter, Christine (Ron) Maxwell of Evansville; two sons, David Miller of Milwaukee and Jeffrey (Jennifer) Miller of White Bear Lake, Minn.; and two granddaughters, Kimberly Maxwell of West Allis and Chloe Miller of White Bear Lake. He is further survived by his brother, Russell (Helen) Miller of Pewaukee; his sister, Jacquelyn Landers of Wind Lake; as well as four nieces, seven nephews, nine grandnieces and 11 grandnephews. Ken was preceded in death by his wife, Catharine (nee Howe) Miller, in 1987, and sister, Marilyn Miller, in 2005.
Ken was a longtime resident of Pewaukee from 1941 through 1985. In retirement, he split his time between the Woodruff/Minoqua area and Alva, Fla., before settling near his daughter in 2000. He was born in Milwaukee on March 28, 1920, and grew up in West Allis from age 6, graduating from West Allis Central High School in 1937. His parents, Raymond and Eleanor (nee Graeser) Miller, were part owners of a Pewaukee Lake summer cottage on Kopmeier Drive built by his mother’s family in 1921, before the Miller’s became full-time Pewaukee residents in 1941.
During World War II, Ken served in the U.S. Navy aboard the battleship USS North Carolina and saw action at Guadalcanal and the Eastern Solomon Islands. His ship was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in September 1942. He was stationed in Kodiak and Dutch Harbor, Alaska, in 1943 and 1944. A Navy musician, he played for world leaders at the formation of the United Nations in San Francisco in 1945.
After the war, Ken and his brother, Russell, just out of the U.S. Army, incorporated Miller Bros. Heating in Pewaukee in 1947. The following year, Ken married Catharine Ann Howe, the daughter of a Milwaukee popcorn store owner. In 1950, his father, a cousin and her husband started a laundry in Pewaukee at 203 E. Wisconsin Ave. in Larson’s old barn. The Miller brothers rented the west side of the building for their sheet metal shop. In 1962, the Miller brothers bought the laundry business and building from their father upon his retirement, moved the shop into the basement and upgraded it into a modern coin-operated laundry and dry-cleaning business, which thrived right up until January 1980 when the building was destroyed in one of Pewaukee’s most spectacular fires.
Ken retired from Miller Bros. Heating in Pewaukee and Miller Bros. Cleaning Village’s Waukesha Laundry in 1982 in order to care for his wife, "Cap," who was suffering from multiple sclerosis. Ken and Cap were members of St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Pewaukee and also left a legacy of three new houses built in the village of Pewaukee at 258 Lookout Drive in 1952, 544 Lookout Drive in 1965 and 503 Lookout Drive in 1969, living at 144 Main St. from 1971 to 1985. Ken served as a Pewaukee village trustee from 1962 to 1976 in charge of parks and recreation and also ran unsuccessfully for village president in 1968. Ken could also be found playing his sax or clarinet at local area weddings and dance halls between 1968 and 1971.
Visitation will be held from 4 p.m. until the 7 p.m. funeral service Friday, Aug. 4, at Yonke and Son Funeral Home, 205 Prospect Ave., Pewaukee. Interment will be held at 10:30 a.m. at Pinelawn Memorial Park, 10700 W. Capitol Drive, Milwaukee. Please meet at the Capitol Drive entrance.
Memorials in Ken’s name to the Multiple Sclerosis Society would be greatly appreciated by the family.
Special thanks to the Kelly House Assisted Living and Evansville Manor in Evansville for the care they gave Ken over the last 15 months of his life.
Yonke and Son Funeral Home, 691-1900, is serving the family.