Truman J. "T.J." Miller, 92, passed away Tuesday, June 9, 2009, in Gainesville, Fla., from complications related to Alzheimer's.
Truman was born Feb. 15, 1917, in Loflin, Mo., and grew up on a small farm there.
He moved to Topeka, Kan., in November 1943 with his wife, Iris, where he lived until after her death in 1985. He married his second wife, Ruth Teeters, in 1990 and returned to Southeast Missouri, where he lived in Cape Girardeau. Truman moved to Florida in March 2008 after the death of Ruth.
Truman attended Southeast Missouri State University and was a schoolteacher and principal five years in Southeast Missouri before moving to Kansas in 1943 to pursue construction work.
He served in the U.S. Navy from January 1945 to October 1945, and was on board the USS Missouri for Japan's signing of the Instrument of Surrender on Sept. 2, 1945.
He then had an opportunity to train for and work as a draftsman for the state of Kansas. After completing his civil engineering degree, he began working as a design engineer for Kansas Highway Department. In 1952 he went to work for a consulting engineering firm, where he was named an associate, doing both design work and field work for major public water and sewer systems and the Kansas Turnpike.
In 1963 he returned to the Kansas Highway Department, where he continued working until retirement in June 1983.
Truman enjoyed a full and active life. He was very involved in church work in Topeka, both at First Baptist and Westside Baptist. He was also an avid gardener, always planting a large vegetable garden. He also had a passion for flowers and landscaping, working with many varieties of roses, tulips, irises, jonquils and gladiolas. He was a skilled carpenter and a true handyman. He could fix or build almost anything and dearly loved any type of carpentry project.
Truman was humbly proud of all his children and grandchildren.
He is survived by three children, Keith (Linette) Miller of Parker, Colo., Robert (Mary) Miller of Simi Valley, Calif., and Liz (John) Harvey of Gainesville.
Truman has 17 grandchildren, Shannon Ridout; Devin, Erin and Morgan Miller; Troy Miller; Todd Miller (deceased); Kristen Ratliff; Carrelle DeSimone; Deanna, Travis, Tory and Krystle Miller; Kristi Vaughan; Rock Fitzpatrick (deceased) and Erin Fitzpatrick; Ashley and Thad Harvey; 22 great-grandchildren; and a great-great-granddaughter.
Ruth's sons, Dave and Bill Teeters, deserve special mention for accepting Truman into their families.
Truman was preceded in death by his first wife, Iris; a daughter, Sharon Fitzpatrick; second wife, Ruth; a sister, Eloise Swan; a brother, Louis Miller; a daughter-in-law, Rothi Miller; and grandsons Rock Fitzpatrick and Todd Miller. He outlived virtually all the friends and family of his generation.
The family will greet friends and relatives for visitation from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at the Kevin Brennan Funeral Home, 2801 SW Urish Road.
A service in celebration and remembrance of Truman's life will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Westside Baptist Church, 1008 SW 4th Street, Topeka. Graveside service will follow at Mount Hope Cemetery.
Donations in lieu of flowers may be sent to Hospice of the Nature Coast, 201 NE 1st Ave., High Springs, FL 32643.
Arrangements are in the care of Forest Meadows Funeral Home, Cemeteries, and Crematory in Gainesville.
Please sign our guest book at www.forestmeadowsfh.com.