January 6, 2014


James "Smoke" Miller, 67, died Monday, Dec. 23, 2013, at Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines.

Mass of the Christian burial was Friday, Dec. 27, at St. Ann Catholic Church in Vail, Iowa. Father. Paul Kelly served as celebrant of the Mass with burial at St. Ann Catholic Cemetery in

Vail. Organist Irene Feilmeier provided accompaniment for the St. Ann family choir. Thursday prayer services included a Legion of Mary rosary and a scriptural prayer service at Huebner Funeral Home in Denison.

Honorary casket bearers were Larry Siebert, Dean Nelson, Paul Alyward, Randy Ruch and Bob Meehan. Casket bearers were William Jensen, Travis Crichton, Nick Backhaus, Jeff Bechen, Mark Ragaller and J.B. Ruch.

James "Smoke" Eugene Miller was born in Carroll, Iowa, on April 8, 1946, a son of James H. and Frances (Launderville) Miller. He received his education in Ar-We-Va Community Schools, graduating with the Class of 1964. After completing his education, Smoke worked for a construction company building Farmland in Denison and also helped build IBP in Dakota City, Neb. On Sept. 11, 1965, Smoke married Lavaun Knutson at St. Williams Catholic Church in Niobrara, Neb. In 1969, the couple moved back to Vail, and Smoke worked at Farmland in Denison until retiring in June 2006.

Smoke was a very social person who enjoyed the time spent with his family and friends. He was a family man at heart and a wonderful grandfather. He enjoyed watching all five of his grandchildren's activities especially his granddaughters' cross-country meets. Smoke loved to cruise the countryside, visit with friends, and just sit on his porch, waving to those who passed by. He liked to spend time outside fishing, planting and tending to his garden, and keeping the birds and squirrels well-fed. Smoke had a great sense of humor and knew how to say the just the right thing to make you laugh. He loved to watch football, especially Notre Dame. When he watched television, Smoke preferred older TV shows, especially westerns and "A Christmas Story." Smoke was a member of St. Ann Catholic Church in Vail.

Smoke is survived by his wife, Lavaun; two children: Jeffrey Carl and his wife, Candice, and Jennifer Dawn and her husband, Bill; five grandchildren: Jessica, Larissa, Amanda, Laine and Brady; five sisters: Regina and her husband, Bob; Donna; Becki and Ken; Lori and her husband, Hans; and Nancy; other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and one son, James Francis, in 1987.