Obituary of Garry Alexander Miller
Obituary of Garry Alexander Miller
It is with great sadness the family of Garry Miller announce his sudden death of April 3, 2023.
Garry was born in Chilliwack, B.C. on August 2, 1945, to Alex and Phyllis Miller. His parents were just starting their first Dairy Farm in Hope, when the devastating flood of 48 happened. Soon after, brother Jim was born. The Millers wanted higher ground, so Alex and Phyllis returned to Moose Heights and bought the Armstrong home and property. This small piece of cleared land was to become the Miller Dairy Farm.
Sister Kit joined the family soon after. The Miller family enjoyed life in Moose Heights with many relatives and neighbors, all starting from scratch after WW2.
With Garry being the oldest, and being raised on a farm in the fifties, with hard working parents, he was soon learning and working on the farm as an adult while still a child. His knack for incredible engineering knowledge and how things worked mechanically was picked up working the farm.
As a teenager he ran crews for haying, chopping, and worked alongside each project, while delivering milk to the Dairy in town before attending school. Garry played hockey and baseball, he loved both games, with limited time from the farm. He also learned how to play pool when he was in high school. In high school Garry met Susan McCallum, they married in 1965. During their courtship Garry was attending PG to earn his Welding Ticket. He apprenticed and worked for Keith Yorston at QM Machinery in Prince George for two years before moving back to Quesnel.
At 21 years old Garry was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, and from that day forward, life became an everyday challenge to maintain his health.
He and Susan became the proud parents of Dallas in 1970, and Dayna in 1971.
While continuing to gain more qualifications for welding and fabricating, with his Welding Truck he worked on sites and in all the sawmills in the Quesnel area, and many large Mill Projects around BC. His skills were very helpful to his family, either at Miller Dairy Farm, Collins Logging, family homes and businesses. They all had something he either designed, fabricated, or put a weld on.
In the 80’s Garry and Ed Ridley built M & R Welding. He was soon on his own operating M & R as Ed and family needed to move back to Prince George. Garry gave many young welders their start in the Welding career at M & R and furthered his own career with designing machinery and buildings from start to finish.
His diabetes was a constant struggle, after breaking his ankle skiing and after many operations he had his first amputation. Poor health took a toll on his everyday life, so his M & R was sold in early 1990. Soon after he joined Collins Logging, helping with everyday projects on logging equipment and trucks. He was a great asset to the Collins Shop with his knowledge and ability to teach the crew.
He had his eye on an Ocean Boat, and it was coming up for auction. Being in a hospital bed in Vancouver, he couldn’t attend the auction so, he instructed his brother-in-law to bid on and buy the boat if it was in his price range. The boat was bought, and soon would be called the Drogheda. Many friends and family enjoyed fishing trips out of Bella Coola and sometimes Prince Rupert. Garry became very qualified to chart and navigate all along the West Coast of BC and many times, was asked for help by friends with navigation and mechanical issues on their boats.
Garry had learned about a new study and surgery for Type 1 Diabetes. Modern Science came thru for Garry, as he was selected in an experiment for a transplant of live islets as he was selected in an experiment for a transplant of live islet cells thorough a world-renowned program called the Edmonton Protocol at The University of Alberta. Under the direction of Dr. James Shapiro, Garry was one of his first patients to receive the transplant. There was a criteria to be selected for the transplant, 1 you had to be very ill, 2 young enough, 3 strong enough to handle the anti-rejection drugs, 4 be able to keep a large number of stats on your health, and 5 not to expect a complete cure. Garry fell into every one of those requirements, and with two transplants in a span of 5 years his health did improve for some time.
Garry loved to travel and enjoyed trips to England with Sue and his Mom. Then a lifelong dream to visit his ancestry in Ireland. He and Betty did Cruise to Panama, and later with his 40’ Motorhome trips to Arizona. He and Ryne traveled to Alaska, now the captain had two prosthetic legs.
After retiring from all work and boating Garry took on the Quesnel Power Squadron. Here he took on a fulltime pastime working with the Quesnel Power Squadron and the National Power Squadron. He enjoyed many friendships with the Squadron and was very proud of all the online boating resources he and Cath developed with input from his fellow Quesnel boaters. Garry's boating knowledge combined with Cath's college course development skills made a talented team.
Family was very important to Garry, and he was extremely proud of his daughters and his four grandchildren throughout their lives. He and Susan remained friends and co-parented throughout the years. He kept a close relationship with his brother, sister and their families, his cousins, Aunts and Uncles. He also enjoyed many loyal friendships.
Garry is survived by Ryne Howarth, daughters Dallas (Scott) and Dayna (Iver) and 4 grandchildren Marissa Lee, Callum, Gracie, and Kara Hanson, sister Kit (Gary) Collins, and his best friend Sue.
Garry is predeceased by his father Alex Miller 1980, nephew Mike Collins 2005, mother Phyllis Miller 2007, and his brother Jim Miller 2007 and friend Betty L’hirondelle 2012.
Funeral Services will be at the Quesnel Legion, Friday May 5, 2:00 pm
If you would like to donate in Garry’s memory, please do so to a charity of your choice or The War Amps, as they donated one of Garry’s prosthetic legs.
“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal; love leaves a memory no one can steal.” Irish Headstone