Deacon Rodger Leroy Miller, 70

SIERRA VISTA – Three days after their 25th anniversary, Rodger peacefully left the loving arms of Virginia his wife, family, and friends into the loving arms of Jesus on Wednesday, November 27 at 9:15 a.m.

Born in Dunlap, Iowa, he was the oldest of Henry and LaRue Miller’s four children. When his grandfather Leopold saw him for the first time he said, “That’s a Rodger!”

Seeking adventure, he first ran away from home by hopping a train at the age of five. Later in his young life he graduated from Nebraska City High School and immediately enlisted in the United States Army at age nineteen.

While in the Army he served as a Nuclear Plant Operator Process Controller 16 ½ years, Law Enforcement Correction Specialist for 2 ½ years, Field Artillery Radar Crewman 4 years, and Health Physics Specialist 4 ½.

While in the service he was awarded the Army Commendation Medal with 1 OLC, Army Good Conduct Medal 6th Award, National Defense Service Medal, Overseas Service Bars-3, Overseas Service Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, NCO Professional Development Ribbon -2, Vietnam Campaign Medal. Rodger retired Sergeant First Class E7 with 22 years of service.

Rodger met Virginia, the love of his life, in 1983 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, in Washington, D.C. It was a long courtship, but Rodger never gave up! He later followed her to Sierra Vista by way of Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center, Aurora, Colorado. While in Sierra Vista he made good use of his time. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from the University of Phoenix. Soon after he was appointed Deputy Jail Commander at the Cochise County Jail. He later completed five years of training and became a Permanent Deacon in the Catholic Church. Rodger enjoyed the following years serving at Our Lady of the Mountains and Holy Family Church on Fort Huachuca and anywhere a deacon was needed.

Rodger and Virginia believed that after hunger, loneliness can take its hold on people. In 2008, Rodger and Virginia began building “The Gathering Place” to fight that battle. Since then they have welcomed hundreds of individuals and families to holiday functions at their home.

If all of that isn’t enough, Rodger was Santa with a real beard during December months. No one was too young or too old to sit on Santa’s lap and get free photographs of their experience.

By now, Rodger has enjoyed a wonderful heavenly reunion with Dad and Mom Miller, “Sis” Elizabeth Miller, brother James Miller, and Dad and Mom Sciarrino (Virginia’s parents).

Waving “Good bye for now” Rodger leaves, “Precious-One” Virginia his wife, brother Lee (Mary) Miller, nephew Ryan Miller, niece Raena Carpenter (Luke) and their children Jane and Grant, and friends too numerous to count, who make up “Together We Are Family.”

Additional family members who had a special place in his heart, Carolyn (Sciarrino) Grimaldi (Louis), and nephew Brendyn Grimaldi (Alana) and their children Jake & Dylan, Toni (Sciarrino) Hardie (Robert), and nieces Sarah and Rebecca. And last by not least, let’s not forget “Lightning Buddy Miller” his loving puppy-dog.

If you would like to do something in memory of Rodger “Celebrate Life!” each and every day. That would please him.

A rosary will start 10:00 a.m. followed by a celebration mass at 10:30 a.m. Friday, December 6 at Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church, 1425 Yaqui Street in Sierra Vista (telephone 520-378-2720).

A long time ago, Rodger had expressed the hope that someday he would deserve to hear this bible verse said to him, “Well done, good land faithful servant.” Matthew 24:21. What do you think?