John Michael Miller, 82, of Northridge, California, passed away with his wife, Kay, at his side on November 22, 2020, after a long battle with Parkinsons.
Born June 25, 1938 in Glendale, CA, he was the son of the late Cecil "Mike" and Floy (McHarg) Miller. He is survived by his wife, Kay; daughter Kathryn Sottile and her husband Brian of Thousand Oaks, CA; daughter Kristina Miller of Simi Valley, CA; son Mark Miller and his wife Amanda of Jupiter, FL; and six grandchildren - Sophia, Olivia, and Christopher Sottile of Thousand Oaks, CA, Drew Miller of Simi Valley, CA, and Morgan and Mackenzie Miller of Juptier, FL. He is also survived by his brother, Robert Miller of La Cañada, CA.
John graduated from Glendale High School in 1956, where he was President of the Latin Club and the Typing Club. He also served as Editor of the high school newspaper with aspirations of becoming a journalist. He attended UCLA, graduating in 1960, with a BA in Political Science and minor in English. In 1961, he earned his secondary teaching credential from UCLA. Upon completion of the credential program, he joined the US Army Reserves at Fort Ord.
In 1962, John was hired by LAUSD where he spent his entire career. He began his career at Pacoima Junior High teaching Social Studies, English and Student Council. Right from the start, he fell in love with teaching and getting to know his students. He served as the 9th grade class sponsor and Faculty President. In 1971, John received his Master's in Education from CSUN as well as counseling and administrative credentials through CSUN and Pepperdine. After 7 years of teaching, John became a counselor helping students with their schedules, motivating them to do well in school, and disciplining when needed. In 1976, John became the Head Counselor at Carver Junior High. During his time at Carver, he served as the President of the Head Counselors Organization and as a Representative on the AALA Council. He was then promoted to Assistant Principal at Paul Revere Junior High where he served from 1983-1989, and then he briefly served in the same capacity at LeConte Junior High from 1989-1991. In October of 1991, John became Principal of Markham Middle School where he dedicated the remainder of his career until he retired in June 1997.
While John had many great accomplishments in his schooling and career life, it was his family that he was most proud of. He wrote a short autobiography 15 years ago and even said that he didn't want his obituary to just be a listing of all he did at school and work with the notation in the last paragraph about his family. "Something about priorities I guess." He hopes his children and grandchildren will read his autobiography or perhaps wait for the movie version so long as Brad Pitt plays the title role.
It was at Pacoima where he met the love of his life, Kay, a fellow teacher at the school and who he described as a beautiful blonde. They married and had 3 wonderful children together: Kathryn, Kristina and Mark. Kathryn is a nurse practitioner and married Brian Sottile in 1996. They have 3 children: Sophia (20), Olivia (18), and Christopher (16). Sophia and Olivia both attend TCU in Fort Worth, TX. Christopher is a high school junior. Kristina is a double degree holder from UCLA and works for the university. Her son, Drew (13), is in his final year of middle school. Mark is the Director of Wellness at Jonathan's Landing in Jupiter, FL. He married Amanda in 2013 and they have two daughters, Morgan (4) and Mackenzie (2), who affectionately refer to their grandpa as "Papa John." This family that John created with Kay was his greatest accomplishment. He was very fortunate to be able to retire early and enjoy time to travel, play with his grandkids, read, watch baseball, and work on his family story. He spent hours upon hours researching his family tree, creating scrapbooks filled with ancestry information, and wrote an autobiography.
He was a lifelong Dodgers and horse racing fan. How fitting that the Dodgers won the World Series in 2020! The family all remembers the last time the Dodgers won… it was 1988 and Kirk Gibson hit the homerun in the first game. John jumped out of his chair, threw his arms in the air, and nearly broke his finger and the ceiling fan! He also was a collector of just about everything - baseball cards, autographs, stamps, coins, Department 56 and Disney. John and Kay loved all things Disney so much that they even started a club. They served as co-presidents of Once Upon a Classic for 15 years until passing on the reins to spend more time with their children and grandchildren. John loved going to Disneyland with the grandkids and, when Mark moved to Florida, there was a built in excuse to spend time at DisneyWorld.
John also loved to travel. From his cross country driving trips as a young adult with friends, to the yearly summer family vacations with his wife and children, to bus tours of Europe with Kay, to cruising in his later years with the grandchildren, John loved to see and explore the world. As a history buff, he would spend countless hours researching destinations and planning itineraries. Kay was always sure to help him find the best shopping, and they would consistently come home with more bags than they took. In the last 15 years or so, Maui, Florida, and Disney Cruises were the vacations of choice. All were relaxing, easy to navigate, and fun for the whole family.
John will be greatly missed by all. The family would like to thank his devoted caregivers, Ed and Therace. A private family service and burial will be held at Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills, CA on December 2, 2020.
Remembering John Michael Miller
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