Tonganoxie Face to Face: VFW’s Art Miller
Name: Art Miller
Born: Devon, Kan., just northwest of Fort Scott.
Occupation: Miller retired as a millwright from General Motors in 1993.
Family: Wife, Helene; daughter, Wonedith Miller, Detroit; and son, Charles Miller, Cleveland. Another son, Dean Miller, is deceased.
Dream job growing up: Miller always wanted to be a builder or welder.
Digging deeper: Miller graduated in 1945 from Blue Mound High School, which now is part of the Jayhawk Linn school district in Mound City.
He served in the Army for three years, first at Fort Knox, Ky., and then on to Germany where he served in an engineering outfit. He worked in heavy machinery, such as bulldozers and tractors, “keeping them afloat,” he said.
After serving in the military, he attended Bailey Diesel School in St. Louis and then worked for Lee River Lines in Paducah, Ky.
He helped in pushing cargo up the river, which ran from Texas to Pennsylvania. Miller then worked for Boeing in Wichita for a few years before heading to Detroit to work for Cadillac.
“I moved around quite a bit when I was young,” Miller said. “I didn’t want to stay in one place too much. I wanted to do stuff and see stuff.”
Miller was doing millwright work in Michigan when he decided to come home to be closer to his father, who was getting older.
That’s when he landed in the Kansas City area in working for General Motors.
Miller moved out to Tonganoxie in 1978.
A few years later, he met Helene, his second wife, at a dance hall in the Kansas City area.
They’ve been married about 30 years. Helene is a retired teacher who was teaching in Raytown, Mo., when they met. She later taught in the Leavenworth and Basehor-Linwood school districts.
Miller is involved in the VFW, American Legion and Masonic Lodge.
He was VFW Post Commander when the local post home was built and has been involved in the nationwide Patriot’s Pen and Voices of Democracy essay contests for local students. During the Leavenworth County Fair, folks generally can see Miller near the VFW concession stand selling raffle tickets.
“I think it’s a good place to live,” Miller said. “I enjoy it. I’ve got a lot of friends here, and a lot of wonderful people live in this area.”