Rev. Owen Miller, 87

The Rev. Owen E. Miller, 87, died peacefully surrounded by family and dear friends on Friday, Aug. 3, 2012 while in the care of Unity Hospice at Liberty Village in Freeport, Ill. 

Owen was born Dec. 23, 1924, in Polo, Ill., to the late Elton and Anna (Abels) Miller. He graduated from Freeport High School and attended North Central College where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology.

He later attended the Evangelical Theological Seminary and obtained his Bachelor of Divinity degree in practical theology, and also received further education in Rural and Urban Ministry from Town and Country School. 

Owen was a pastor in the Wisconsin Conference of the United Methodist Church and served the congregations of Ithaca, Lloyd, Hartford, Sheboygan, Racine, Mayville, Horicon and LaCrosse before his retirement in 1989. Owen settled back in his hometown of Freeport, Ill. after retirement and served parishes in the communities of Winnebago and Pearl City until 2003. 

Owen made several mission trips during his ministry to Japan and the Holy Land, and was also active in mission work at various locations in the United States including Red Bird Mission in Kentucky and Koinonia Farms in Americus, Ga. 

On Sept. 1, 1946, Owen married Ruth M. Dauner. They had three children; David, Stephen and Mary. Ruth passed away in December 1998. 

Owen was remarried to Betty L. Runte on May 22, 2004. She survives. 

Owen was preceded in death by his first wife Ruth, his parents Elton and Anna, brother Darrell, sister Lois, and infant sister Aletha, son David, and daughter-in-law, Evelyn. He is survived by his wife Betty, Freeport, Ill., brother Elton, Rockford Ill., son Stephen (Susan), Greensboro, Ga., daughter Mary (Todd) Boyd, Wausau, two step-daughters Linda Lindstrom, Lena, Ill., and Jeannie (James) Johnson, Durand, Ill., daughter-inlaw Maria, Norcross, Ga., four grandchildren Jason, Kirsten, Samuel and Jennifer, and numerous great-grandchildren, step grandchildren and step great-grandchildren. 

Owen enjoyed the outdoors and was an avid fisherman and hunter. For many years he made annual deer hunting trips to Wyoming, and heloved spending time at his cottage in northern Wisconsin where he fished and found great pleasure in working around the property. Owen loved to garden, spending hours tending to his plants and he was always eager to share what he grew with family and friends. He had a passion for antique cars and took great pride in a 1936 Chevy Coupe that he and his son Steve restored together. Before Owen became ill, he enjoyed spending winters with his wife Betty at their home in Homosassa, Fla. 

Owen had a zest for living, an infectious sense of humor, and a kind and compassionate heart that touched everyone he met. Owen lived his life firmly rooted in his faith in God. He exemplified through word and deed the Christian principles he believed so strongly in and he always strove to encourage and uplift whoever he encountered along life’s journey. Owen fought his long battle with Alzheimer’s disease with the same courage and dignity with which he lived his life, and his grace and inspiration will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him. 

Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 6, at Burke-Tubbs Funeral Home in Freeport, Ill., with funeral services to be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 7, at Cedarville Baptist Church in Cedarville, Ill. Rev. Gene McIntosh will officiate. Interment will be at Milton Lawns Memorial Park in Janesville. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be made to Unity Hospice or the Alzheimer’s Association. 

Owen’s family would like to express our sincere gratitude to the staff of Unity Hospice and Liberty Village for the compassionate and sensitive care extended not only to Owen, but to all of us during his illness. Your support and strength sustained and comforted us in ways you can’t begin to imagine. Thank you so much. 

Please visit to sign his online guestbook and to share memories.