Otis Eugene Miller
September 19, 1932 – January 29, 2020
Otis Eugene “Gene” Miller, 87, passed away surrounded by family on Jan. 29, 2020. A visitation will be held on Monday, Feb. 3 from 9-11 am, with service following at Second Baptist Church in Liberty, MO. Graveside services will be at 3 PM in Ravanna, MO, with fellowship at the Ravanna Community Center afterwards.
Otis was born on Sept. 19, 1932 on the family farm in Ravanna, MO. The son of Florence Lowry and Otis Miller. He was baptized in a creek and had a strong faith. He graduated from Ravanna High School at the age of 16 and graduated from Univ. of Missouri with an undergraduate degree in Agriculture and Science at the age of 19 as he wanted to complete his degree before being drafted for the Korean War. He was able to return to the farm to teach and coach at his own High School for one year prior to being drafted into the army in May 1953. He joined the 12th Battalion as a Line Cadre Instructor working with the Skysweeper – the most automated of the U.S. anti-aircraft guns at that time. He served for two years and was stationed in Japan.
Following the war, Otis returned to the Univ. of Missouri-Columbia where he earned his Ph.D. in Ag. Econ in 1962 and was set up on a blind date with Carol Lee Hall by the real estate agent (his future father-in-law) who had just sold him his first farm. Otis and Carole had their first date in June, he proposed at the Mizzou football game in Sept and married Dec. 22, 1957. His first job was as Economics/Statistic professor at Iowa Wesleyan College for two years, then accepted a position at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa for two years.
In 1962, they moved to Kansas City where Otis was a professor at Rockhurst College. As director of the Evening Division, he helped develop the MBA program. After 16 Years at Rockhurst College, Otis became a professor at William Jewell College. Otis retired in 1997 after teaching for 40 years. His belief in the importance of education is evidenced by his four children completing 9 degrees. His grandchildren have completed 4 degrees, have 6 degrees in progress, and more to come.
Otis was one-of-a-kind, talented and successful in all his endeavors. In 1965, he was President of the South Central Business Association and co-owner of the St. Regis Hotel. He was a home builder and developed a 57-home subdivision in Liberty. He owned and managed the family farm, which is now a Century Farm with a Historic Angus Herd. He loved coaching his children in Little League sports for many years. After years of leadership in the NAIA, he was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame. He was passionate about many sports team, including Mizzou, Royals, Chiefs, and whoever was playing KU. He loved to travel and visited all 50 states and seven countries. He was very proud that his son and all five grandsons are Eagle Scouts.
Otis was preceded in death by his brothers John and Bill Miller, and Son-in-law, David Sarther. Those who loved him and will miss him dearly include his wife of 62 years, Carol Miller: four children Mary Claire Miller of Houston, Florence Sue Thomas (Jonathan) of Columbia, Otis Eugene Miller II (Teresa) of Kansas City, and Lorena Jane Sarther of Chicago; and eight grandchildren Abigail Thomas, Jonathan Thomas, Andrew Thomas, Joseph Thomas, Claire Miller, Otis Miller III, Davis Miller, and Grace Sarther. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Second Baptist Church or the charity of your choice.
- Visitation Monday, February 3, 2020
- Funeral Service Monday, February 3, 2020
Otis Eugene Miller
Kim Long Beckley
February 10, 2020
I was saddened to hear of Dr. Miller’s passing. My condolences to his family. I have many great memories from his classes at WJC. I learned to calculate square roots by hand for statistics class, as calculators weren’t allowed, and that “chance” is always involved. I recall going to a SIFE competition in San Francisco with Dr. Miller & Carol and Mr. Nickle & Norma. We also had some great conversations about North Missouri farming, as I grew up on a farm in Harrison County. He was definitely one of the Jewell professors who made an impact on who I am today, and I am thankful I was able to learn from some of his vast knowledge.
February 1, 2020
I enjoyed talking to Dr. Miller about Mercer County topics before or after class at William Jewell. Great man and full of accomplishments.