John Miller was a Monona Grove institution having safely conveyed thousands of children to school daily for years while bringing a ray of sunshine to his bus routes and the schools where he served as a custodian.
John was born in Rice Lake on March 9, 1938, and raised in rural Wisconsin, graduating from Boyceville High School in 1956. In 1960, John married Phyllis Lillevold from nearby Prairie Farm, and they moved to Madison prior to John entering the Army in 1961 serving with the 86th Engineer Battalion at Fort Dix, New Jersey. Daughter Roxanne was born there in 1962 and son Kevin was born in Wisconsin in 1963 shortly after John was honorably discharged.
The family moved to Monona with John working at Gisholt Machine Company until they closed their Madison plant. He then worked for Tipler Transfer as a mover and was hired as a custodian by the Monona Grove School District before also becoming a bus driver for the district.
John worked MG football games tracking the action on the field for announcer Dave Rhode and assisted with MG track meets for many years. John played on numerous softball teams in Monona and Madison and served as both a softball and baseball umpire throughout the Madison area.
Unfortunately, John and Phyllis’ marriage came to an end, but John married Alice Russell in 2002 and gained a new family, including children Anthony, Joshua and Leslie. John continued driving school bus beyond normal retirement age, though he scaled back allowing more time for sheepshead, mall walking, umping and barbershopping.
A few years ago, John was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s requiring him to stop working, but he continued many activities to the greatest extent possible. The past few months, numerous health challenges and the ravages of Alzheimer’s became too much. John was moved into the VA hospice center and made as comfortable as possible. Numerous friends and family stopped to visit, and to all of you, we say thank you. John drew strength from the people around him, and your presence gave strength to his family. We know those who were unable to visit were present in spirit and prayer.
Per John’s request, a celebration of life will be held from 3-4:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, at Gunderson Funeral Home on Monona Drive. All are welcome to join in this celebration where we will share memories, stories, and lots of music.
John is survived by wife Alice; daughter Roxanne (Kirk) Robinson and granddaughter Megan; son Kevin (Katherine) and grandsons Samuel and Matthew; stepson Anthony (Ruth) Russell and grandchildren Hailey, Noah, Connor, and Hanah; stepson Joshua (Nicole) Russell and grandchildren Grace, Makenzie, and Lily; stepdaughter Leslie Russell; brother David Miller; sister Marjorie Miller, and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. John was preceded in death by his parents, Herb and Edna and his grandson Daniel Robinson.