Cover photo for John B. Miller's Obituary
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1920 John 2018

John B. Miller

July 9, 1920 — February 14, 2018

John Barr Miller was born on July 9, 1920 to Lora Tiffin and Mary Edith (Barr) Miller in Tipton County and passed away February 14, 2018 at Gulfside Hospice, Zephyrhills, Florida.  He enjoyed the life of a farm boy until his father died of an appendicitis in March 1932 when John was just 12 years old. John’s maternal grandparents helped his mother raise him and his four siblings. John graduated from Prairie Township High School, Tipton County in 1939. After graduation John was trained as an engine lathe operator and went to work on airplane parts at Delco Remy in Anderson from 1939-1942. On August 16, 1942 John married W. Jeannette Mundell.

He was inducted into the Army at Ft. Benjamin Harrison, Indianapolis on August 10, 1942. His first assignment was infantry, but then he volunteered for the Army Air Corps because he said he was tired of peeling potatoes in kitchen duty (KP)! John trained as an airplane armor gunner at Harlingen, Texas. He attained the rank of Staff Sergeant of Squadron C, 2114th AAF Base Unit and was a member of a bomber crew operating ball turret guns, making emergency repairs to armament in flight and preflight inspection. He was first stationed at Tunisia, North Africa, then later at Foggia, Italy. John participated in campaign missions in Sicily; Naples, Foggia, Rome, Armo, Italy; France; Germany; Greece; Innsbruck, Austria; Bulgaria; and Yugoslavia. John was awarded “The European-African-Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon” with five bronze stars and “The Air Medal with 9 Oak Leaf Clusters”.

After John completed 50 bombing missions, he refused R&R in Europe. He found his own way back to Casablanca to return to the United States. From March 4, 1944 until his discharge John was a gunner training instructor at Sebring, Florida, Columbus, Ohio, and Seymour, Indiana. He was discharged on September 5, 1945 at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. John absolutely declined to talk about his World War II experiences until around his 93rd year, when he exclaimed, “You’re supposed to get this off your chest.” He began telling his stories to young and old and regaled Veteran’s Day program attendees with all of his memories. In June 2015 John participated in an Honor Flight escorted by stepson Terry Narum. These flights were established to transport America’s Veterans to Washington, DC to visit those memorials dedicated to honor the service and sacrifices of themselves and their friends. We will be forever grateful for John’s sacrificial and generous service.

John went to work at Steel Parts in Tipton after returning from the European theatre of World War II. Advancing through a number of functions and assignments he progressed to the position of Traffic Manager. He held this position until his retirement in 1983 with 37 years of service. John and Jeannette followed friends to Florida for winter vacations, eventually purchasing a mobile home in Zephyrhills. They enjoyed travel and collecting antiques. Jeannette died on her birthday, July 18, 1988.

John married Edythe Morris Cochran on January 1, 1989. They had attended the same Sunday School class and church since 1960. During the first years of their married life they travelled to Mexico, Hawaii, Israel, Italy, Austria, Germany, England, Scotland, and in his ninetieth year to Japan to visit their granddaughter. Also ballroom dancing and shuffle boarding were favorite pastimes they enjoyed doing together. They built a house in Wedgewood Manor in Zephyrhills and became permanent Florida residents in 1995.

John was a member of Kemp Methodist Church while living in Tipton and was a current member of First United Methodist Church and Methodist Men, Zephyrhills. In earlier years he enjoyed the camaraderie of the Elks, and American Legion.
John was endearing to all with his fun loving, kidding, and laughing nature. Hugs were a big part of who he was.

John is survived by his wife Edythe; sisters-in-law, Julie Miller, Tipton and Vi Miller, Kokomo; three nieces, Melissa, Anita, and Marlene; two nephews, Richard and Chad Miller; step-daughter Jeanne (Terry) Narum, Zephyrhills; three step-grandchildren: Kyle (Kristi) Narum; Kent (Elisabeth Cherland) Narum; and Katie (Kazunori); six step-great-grandchildren: Hailey, Carter, Elijah, Leif, Jun, and Haru

He was preceded in death by his parents, wife Jeannette, brothers, Robert Paul Miller, Allen Lora Miller, and Frederic Owen Miller, sister, Mary Francis Davis, brother in law, Dexter Davis, and one niece.

Celebration of Life Service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 24, at First United Methodist Church, Zephyrhills with visitation before the service at 10:00 a.m. and lunch to follow the service. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the donor’s choice, First United Methodist Church, 38635 5th Ave, Zephyrhills, Florida, 33542 or Gulfside Hospice, 5760 Dean Dairy Road, Zephyrhills, Florida, 33541.

Graveside services will be at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 28 at Fairview Cemetery with military honors.  The family will receive friends from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. on Saturday at Young-Nichols Funeral Home.

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