The St. Thomas the Apostle community lost one of its faithful, retired deacons. Dcn. Ken Miller passed into eternal life Aug. 21. He was 85.
Dcn. Miller, a devoted family man, once led a Boy Scout troop and little league team for his son, adored his wife — she was careful not to ask for the moon for fear he would deliver — and doted on his daughter.
“He never took a job out of town until we were all grown. He was the rock,” Kathy Kammerzell, his daughter and eldest, said.
Dcn. Ken Miller
Born: Aug. 1, 1933
Ordained: March 21, 1976 for the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings, Montana
Incardinated: June 4, 1990 in the Diocese of Phoenix
Service in the Diocese of Phoenix
St. Thomas the Apostle, Phoenix: July 1, 1983-2008
Died: Aug. 21, 2018
Mass: 10:30 a.m. Aug. 28 at St. Thomas The Apostle, 2312 E. Campbell Ave., Phoenix
Committal: Following Mass, proceed to National Memorial Cemetery, 23029 N. Cave Creek Rd., Phoenix
Dcn. Miller was a commercial structural engineer. He even let his daughter type up land descriptions for some of his design drafts.
“He was such a dynamic man because after he was ordained he became a role model of a good Christian based in the Bible,” Kammerzell said. She saw ordination as a natural extension of her dad’s passion for the faith and drive to serve others.
Discernment waited until his kids were in college and high school.
“He was very involved in his family and being a dad and trying to raise us well and in society,” Kammerzell said.
He applied the same tactics to the diaconate thriving on offering marriages and performing Baptisms.
“He looked at them as they were a beginning of a chapter of life,” Kammerzell said. Baptisms marked a life in Christ and weddings began a journey with a partner in Christ.
As a couple the Millers did pre-marriage counseling and education too.
“He and his wife Mary Jean interviewed my wife and I when we applied for diaconate formation,” said Dcn. Doug Bogart, who is now associate director of education and formation for the diocesan Office of the Diaconate. Turned out both men were woodworkers and they bonded a bit over that fact.
The deacons served for three or four years together at St. Thomas the Apostle. Dcn. Miller was in his later years and slowing down a bit, “but he always had a kind word for everyone he met and a gentle presence that helped people be comfortable with him right away,” Dcn. Bogart said.
Upon retirement, Dcn. Miller was still physically present at the church. More than once, people who knew him pointed out Dcn. Miller’s “pew” near the altar’s steps where he sat with his wife and kept a watchful eye on those at the altar.
The deacon traveled in his later years and enjoyed learning new things. His two children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren survive him. Dcn. Miller’s wife preceded him in death earlier this year.