Clinton O. Miller Dies; Longtime Sitkan was 87

 

Clinton Owen Miller

Clinton Owen Miller, a longtime resident, state basketball champ, a smoked fish prize winner, and, in the words of his family, “the best dad ever,” passed away on April 27. He was 87.

Clint was born on November 16, 1935, in Hutton Valley, Missouri, to Stanton Miller and Eva (Williams) Miller. His family lived in Missouri, moved to the shipyards near Portland during WWII, to logging camps in Idaho after the war, and finally settling in Wrangell.

Clint grew up in Wrangell, attending schools and graduating from Wrangell High School. As a freshman, he played center for the Wrangell team that beat West Anchorage for the 1952 Alaska State Basketball Championship, an honor for which he is remembered in Wrangell still. Clint’s No. 88 jersey was retired and kept alongside the State Champion Trophy at Wrangell High.

In 2002, Clint returned to Wrangell for a 50-year reunion of the championship team. Wrangell had a special spot in Clint’s heart as he would return to visit his parents and friends and to take his kids moose hunting and fishing at the family cabin up “Elbow Slough” on the Stikine River.

 After high school, Clint worked construction and had the opportunity to train in Juneau to become a powder man.  With his Blasters License, he got a job offer to come to Sitka to work on the original Blue Lake Dam project.  He was on the next flight and Sitka became his home.  In 1960 he married Marina Panamarkoff in St. Michael’s Cathedral.  

Following his work on the dam, Clint worked for Standard Oil, was Public Works foreman for the City of Sitka, and retired in 1991 as the highway maintenance foreman for the Alaska Department of Transportation & Facilities.

Clint’s work, his work ethic and commitment to keeping Sitka’s highways safe was beyond measure. During his employment with the State, he formed a lifelong friendship with coworker Dave Luchinetti.

 After a few years of retirement, Clint decided to go back to work. He bought, owned and operated Southeast Tree Service. He was often seen all around town, climbing trees and providing wood chips. After several years, he retired again. In 2018, after experiencing increasing dementia symptoms, Clint moved into the Sitka Pioneers Home where he was visited almost every day by his family.   He resided in the Pioneers Home until his hospital admission in late March. Clint was strong until the end and passed away peacefully on April 27 with family at his side. 

 Some of Clint’s best times included traveling with his family where he often had “adventures,” as when visiting Russia.  He traveled to Greece, took numerous trips to the Big Island and to Bahia De Los Angeles in Baja Mexico. He liked going to theme parks where he went on every roller-coaster with his granddaughter Mashaya – his only rule being “no loops.” His last trip was to Disneyland with granddaughter Taylor and family. His reply to any outing was “let’s go,” whether it be a car ride or trip out of town. 

Clint had a love for fishing and being on the water with his son, Mike. Getting sockeye was an important annual event in Clint’s life. He was known for the “best smoked fish.”  He spent many days and nights perfecting his brine, smoking technique, cutting fish into perfect pieces, jarring the pieces so they were pretty, and manning his pressure cooker. His expertise won him a 1st Place Ribbon at the Alaska State Fair.

Clint liked breakfast at any time and often had two breakfasts with his first breakfast before anyone else was awake. He made the best “Clinto-burgers, and fish nuggets.”  Cooking for people who enjoyed his food made him happy. 

Clint was a member of the Sitka Volunteer Fire Department. For many years, he served as an elder at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and he was adopted by the Coho clan.

Clint loved his Biorka Street neighborhood. His neighbor and family friend, Louise Dennard, best defined him by saying “Many people in Sitka knew Clint. He had a smile, a wave, a joke, a story to all he met. Clint didn’t know the meaning of a stranger. He had words of wisdom for all of us.”

When thinking of what Clint truly enjoyed most, it simply was to help others, and he touched so many through many places and times in his life. 

Clint is survived by his wife of 63 years, Marina (Panamarkoff) Miller; children Mary Miller, Mike Miller, Kathy (Steve) Miller; his cherished grandchildren, Mashaya Sulser and Taylor Huddleson; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Survivors also include special friends he adopted as family: Sandra Moller, Elizabeth Samson, Abby Forrester, Maria Estela Hernández De la Torre Johnson, and countless others including his granddaughter Mashaya’s buddies.

Clint was preceded in death by his parents, and two brothers, Norman Dale Miller and Robert Darrell Miller.

The family is planning a celebration of his life in August in Sitka, and inviting all who knew Clint to attend.

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