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Donald Erwin Miller, age 99, of Fairview Heights, Illinois passed away on Sunday, September 10, 2023. Donald was born on March 11, 1924 in Geneva, Ohio to Oma Miller “Marlette” and George Miller. Don met the love of his life “Ginny” while attending Radio Operators School at Scott Field, and they were married after World War II on November 9, 1944.
Donald is survived by his daughter, Donna Albert; his daughter-in-law, Rose Miller and his beloved grandchildren, Rebecca Shanks, Donald J. Miller, Jennifer (Rob) Dulaney, and Lisa (Michael) Harris; 9 great-grandchildren, Samantha Shanks, Nathan Shanks, Lucas Harris, Madison Harris, Jacob Dulaney, Natalie Dulaney, Benjamin Miller, Taylor Miller, and Joseph Miller; his great-great grandchildren, Katherine Shanks and JoAnna Shanks. He is also survived by his special friend of nine years, Peggy Ducheny.
Donald was preceded in death by his wife of 53 years, Virginia “Ginny” Miller, nee Groene, his sister Patricia Allen, and his son, Gary E. Miller.
Don enlisted in the Army Air Corps in October 1942. He was assigned to the 8th Air Force, 466th Bomb Group in England. His B-24-crew (“Red Hot Riding Hood”) flew 30 missions over Europe, including two missions on D-Day. On their 30th mission over Germany, they were hit by flack but were able to land wheels up in France, in a town that had been liberated the day before by General Patton’s army. They were rescued and returned to the United States aboard the Queen Mary. He was awarded the Air Medal with 3 Oak Clusters; Distinguished Flying Cross; European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and Certificate of Valor.
After the War he worked as pipefitter for Monsanto for 40 years, where he made many good friends and they stayed in touch through the Monsanto retirement lunches, dances and picnics.
Don always had a passion for flying. In the late 60s he was a member of the Civil Air Patrol and taught cadets about flying and restoring small planes. His planes included a J-3 Cub, Cessna 170, Piper Colt, and a Funk Flyer, which was placed in the Historic Aircraft Museum in Creve Coeur, Missouri. He was a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association, and United Flying Octogenarians.
Don loved spending time with his family and enjoying family gatherings at his house. He could repair just about anything, and after retiring he could usually be found tinkering in his garage and fixing things for family and friends.
The family would also like to express their love and gratitude to Judy Claypoole who was Don’s caregiver and friend and shared his love of the St. Louis Cardinals, and to Dr. George Despotis, and the World War II Veterans.
Memorials may be made to Wounded Warriors or to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Visitation will be held on Wednesday, September 13, 2023, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Kassly Mortuary, Ltd., Fairview Heights, IL.
Visitation will also be held on Thursday, September 14, 2023, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at St. Augustine of Canterbury Church, Belleville, IL.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Thursday, September 14, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. at St. Augustine of Canterbury Church, Belleville, IL with Msgr. Bill McGhee officiating. Interment will be in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, MO.