June 17, 1926 ~ March 13, 2017
March 31, 2017 10:30 AM
The world lost a very generous man and a special woman on Monday, March 13th, when Robert Samuel “Bob” Miller and Alice Ellen (Bruso) Miller peacefully passed away at their home in Belgrade with their daughter and granddaughter by their sides.
Bob was born on June 17, 1926, to Harold (Tobe) and Sarah (Gee) Miller at their Dry Creek home. He attended elementary school at both Dry Creek and Reese Creek and high school at Belgrade, graduating in the Class of 1944.
Alice was born on May 12, 1928, to Ed and Lena (Zindler) Bruso in Bozeman. She attended elementary and high school in Bozeman, graduating in the Class of 1946. Many of her early memories were of the summers that she and her sister, Marian, spent in Yellowstone Park with their parents while Ed was working construction there.
Bob and Alice were married on November 15, 1950, in Bozeman and celebrated 66 years together. Their daughter, Susan, was born in Bozeman in 1952. Their adored and only granddaughter, Jaclyn Wiegand, was born in Bozeman in 1986.
They began their married life farming with Bob’s father north of Belgrade before farming near Toston, where Alice began her career with the US Department of Agriculture. In 1960, they moved to the Durham place in the Belgrade “North Country” where they farmed for over 51 years. During these years, they experienced the highs and lows of an agricultural life. Bob always took this in stride and loved working the land and being outdoors, running his combine or one of his many tractors.
After moving to the North Country, Alice continued her thirty-plus-year career with the ASCS, driving over sixty miles each day to work in the Bozeman office. She developed personal relationships with all of “her” farmers in Gallatin County and was diligent in caring for them with her extensive knowledge of the location and size of their agricultural production fields. In 1994 she was awarded the Service to Agriculture Award by the Gallatin Valley Agricultural Committee.
During his career, Bob actively pursued innovative farming methods and enjoyed new crop and fertilizer experimentation. He had a wealth of knowledge and was often sought out as a valuable resource for farming and ranching as well as history and stories of the Gallatin Valley. He was honored by the Gallatin Valley Agricultural Committee and named as Outstanding Farmer of the Year in 1987. He also measured the daily precipitation and snowpack for the National Weather Service for almost thirty years.
Bob and Alice built a life based on generosity and hard work and were both generous and tireless contributors of their time and energy to their family, friends, neighbors, and community, serving the Pass Creek School and Community Center, Gallatin Beef Producers and Cattlewomen, Sons and Daughters of the Gallatin Pioneers, and numerous other organizations. Both were honored for their exceptional skills and service to the community.
Bob and Alice met at a Reese Creek country dance and continued to share their love of music and dancing throughout their lives. Bob taught himself to sing and play the guitar without ever having read a note of music and had his own country band, The Bob Miller Trio, who had a loyal following for over fifty years. Alice was by his side at all of the venues and spent many years serving drinks to their thirsty fans. They were amazing dance partners and inspired generations of dancers with their joyful performance and energetic antics! They would often play until 2 A.M., pack up the equipment, drive home, and then be up at the crack of dawn to do the farm work.
Alice enjoyed bowling and proved this is a lifetime sport by actively participating in league bowling for close to 70 years. She bowled a 238 game at the age of 88!
Both Bob and Alice enjoyed the competition of card games and shared a fun and cheerful sense of humor. We will greatly miss this inspirational partnership that enriched our lives and community.
They are survived by their daughter, Susan Miller, and granddaughter, Jackie Wiegand, both of Belgrade; his brother, Dean Miller (Shirley) of Belgrade; his sisters, Lil Meeks (Archie) of Pittsburg, KS, Darlene Speece (John) of Reading, PA, and Mary Ellen Fitzgerald and Charlotte Mills (Stan) of Bozeman; his sister-in-law, Virginia Miller of Bozeman; her nephews, Tom Miller (Missy) and Terry Miller (Debbie) of Bozeman; and several nieces, nephews and cousins. Preceding them in death were their parents; his brother, Jim Miller; and her sister and brother-in-law, Marian and LaVern Miller.
A joint Memorial Service will be held on Friday, March 31, at 10:30 A.M. at Grace Bible Church, with a reception immediately following. A private graveside service will be held on Saturday, April 1, at Sunset Memorial Gardens.
Memorials may be made in their names to the Pass Creek Community Center, c/o Kelly Callantine, 3691 Flathead Pass Road, Belgrade, MT 59714, or a charity of your choice.
The family would especially like to thank Hospice of Bozeman Health, Dr. Kane, Dr. Robertson, and the doctors and staff at Bozeman Deaconess Cardiology and Cancer Center for their wonderful support and care.
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