Daniel Charles Miller

January 29, 1937- September 18, 2021

Daniel Charles Miller became a statistic at age 18.  He was one of the last acute cases of Polio in the State of Washington. That was July 1955, the Salk Vaccine reached the small town of Pateros a week too late.  Polio delayed Dan's dreams and goals of going to college, becoming a PE teacher, a pilot, a better golfer, playing a guitar, marrying the perfect girl and raising a family.         
Dan was born in Bridgeport, Washington on January 29,1937 to Herb and Bodell (Tanneberg) Miller.  His soul left his body on Saturday, September 18, 2021, in La Conner, Washington. He is now in Heaven, running, jumping, and clapping his hands with Jesus. He has a new body and no more pain! Dan's early years were spent on his parent's wheat and cattle ranch near Mansfield. He attended school at Bridgeport, then Mansfield until 1953 when the family moved to Pateros. He graduated from Pateros High School in 1955.  Dan was set to attend Eastern Washington University that fall, but the Polio virus had left his legs 80% paralyzed, his right arm 100% paralyzed, and his left arm almost useless. So instead of college, he entered Physical Therapy 101 and Rehab 102 at the old Deaconess Hospital in Wenatchee. 
  Dan never gave up on his goals and dreams.  In his words, "inch by inch, muscle by muscle, day by day, I will work my way back".  Dan entered college a year later.  He continued Physical Therapy while in college. 1956 was long before any federal laws mandated public facilities be accessible to handicapped people. He could barely walk with a crutch, let alone navigate stairs to most of the classrooms.  His weak left arm could not pull him up a stairway by the handrails. Soon word got around campus, and by some "miracle", a group of college athletes became Dan's human elevator throughout his college days. His love of music and playing a guitar came true in college. Dan and his friends formed a band called "The Stompers". They played throughout the area and around NCW.  He also met that perfect girl in college and they were married in July 1959 in Pateros.
  Dan graduated from Eastern in1960 with a degree in Education and a major in PE. He taught school in Spokane and Coulee Dam. He received a Master's degree in PE from EWU in 1965. They moved to Bellingham, where Dan was hired as a PE Specialist to teach teachers new and innovative PE activities in the Bellingham School District. In 1968, the family moved to Prosser where again Dan was a PE Specialist and then a principal. In 1984, Dan was hired to be the principal at Osborn Elementary School in Leavenworth, Washington. While there, he received two Washington Distinguished Principal   awards and the Excellence  in Education  Award  from the governor. Osborn Elementary was also featured on the Seattle TV program called Evening Magazine highlighting many of Dan's  fun and unique  styles of leadership.  During these years, Dan was also an adjunct professor for Central Washington University. He taught many classroom teachers throughout NCW his ideas for teaching PE that included all children, not just the skilled and athletic ones.  In 1992 Dan left Education to became a public speaker for the next 22 years. Encouraged by his friend and former doctor, Ed Cadman of Wenatchee, Dan started telling his story of life with polio to groups all over the country.  In the first six years, he ended up speaking to more than 250,000 people in 25 different states. Last count he had spoken to over 750,000 people all over this country.  Thousands more have heard his story on Focus on the Family radio program. He was a guest speaker on the TV program Hour of Power. Most of Dan's dreams and goals came true.  He became a very good one arm golfer and even had a hole in one at the Village Green Golf Course in Port Orchard, Washington. He became a licensed pilot, flying from the co-pilot's side, flew 900 hours pilot in command. Dan played guitar and sang gigs with his friend Perry Buster.  He played and sang with the Country Gospel singers The Gaither's on one of their TV programs. When speaking, audiences would hear him laugh at himself telling stories about all the things he would try and fail at.  He would just say "Well, that didn't work, or let's try it a different way" or "let's see what you can do." He would laugh & tell how people would react when his legs would suddenly give out and he would fall. His sense of humor was contagious. Dan wrote his life story in a book called "Living, Laughing, and Loving Life". It has sold over 70,00 copies and is still available on Amazon. It gives encouragement and laughter to those who may not have a perfect body or are afraid to take a chance and go for their dreams.  He encouraged people to be dream makers for others, and to pursue their own dreams. You can enjoy Dan speaking at Dan Miller Living, Laughing and Loving Life on YouTube.
  Dan is survived by his best friend, his dreammaker and love of his life, his wife of 62 years, Judy in La Conner, Washington. He is also survived by his son Sky Miller (Pam) in Pasco, Washington, daughters, Danica (Geoff) Almvig, Mt. Vernon, Karmen (Brent) Harris, Scottsdale, Arizona, eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. A sister, Marlene Miller Kaucher, Chelan. He was preceded in death by his parents and a sister, Bonnie Rae Miller Sams.
Donations may be given to Hospice of the Northwest, 227 Freeway Dr.,
 Mt. Vernon, WA  98273 
A celebration of Dan's life will be held in the Spring in Prosser, Washington.

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