James (“Jim”) Donald Miller of Cordell, Oklahoma was welcomed into heaven on July 8th, 2021. He passed away in Oklahoma City after a month-long illness. Jim was born to Virgil and Christine (Crider) Miller on April 26, 1949, in Hominy, Oklahoma. He was the firstborn of four children.
Jim spent the first 6 years of his life in Oklahoma before the family moved to Springfield, Oregon. When Jim was in 8th grade the family relocated and settled in beautiful Coquille, Oregon. Jim was a proud 1967 graduate of Coquille High School and was able to return for his 50th reunion in 2017. He continued his education by obtaining an associate degree in Police Administration from Southwestern Oregon Community College in 1969, Criminal Justice from Lane Community College in Eugene in 1982, and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Oregon University in 1985. He then relocated back to Oklahoma where he received his Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Oklahoma in 1987.
Jim was proud to serve his country in the US Army as an E-5 Sergeant from 1969 to 1972. He was actively involved in the Vietnam War and spent many hours in helicopters taking aerial photos and serving as an Image Interpreter/Intelligence Specialist. Jim learned from a young age that if he wanted extras in life he would have to work and earn his own money, so he consistently worked throughout high school. His first professional job after high school was as a police officer in Coos Bay, Oregon. After he obtained his master’s degree, he became a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and spent most of his career working as a Senior Triage Specialist at Northwest Center for Behavioral Health to help those who were addicted to substances. He was a much loved counselor in his profession and many people undoubtedly are living productive lives today because he was there for them when they needed his wisdom and helping hand. In 2015 Jim was able to retire after 22 years of service to the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. These last 22 years of employment were spent in the agency in Fort Supply and Woodward.
Jim married Deborah Blaser in 1998 and he became an instant daddy to Whitney Shae, Skylar, and Tylar Claypool. It was absolutely the highlight of Jim’s life to be a father. Because Jim loved every second, he had with his children he and Deborah decided to add two more. Jim never came down from Cloud Nine after Christopher and Dakota were born. Life with 5 children was very exciting and busy but Jim loved every bit of it and was involved in every activity his children participated in. He spent many years coaching the kid’s soccer and baseball teams. Jim was an avid fisherman and hunter and taught his children the love of sports, nature, and not taking themselves too seriously so life could be fun and full of laughter. The only thing that was comparable to being a daddy was being a grandparent of six.
Jim spent his entire life making an impact on others. If you met him you would never forget him because he made an imprint on the heart of each person he interacted with. Many people will remember him for his constant smile and laugh, his story telling and jokes, or his willingness to reach out and help you when you were at your lowest. He was a great cook and made all the meals for his family. He spent several years bowling on a league in Woodward and wore his league champion jacket proudly. Well into his 50’s he could keep up with the best of them in a competitive game of basketball with community members or his family. Many people do not realize that he was a very skilled artist, song, and poem writer. He could think on the fly and humored his children with the funniest poems and songs he’d make up in the spur of the moment. He always loved photography and especially enjoyed taking pictures of his children and of nature. To the delight of his kids Jim would drag home any animal that would let itself be caught. Despite Deborah’s objections, he taught his children that it would not hurt them to hold nonpoisonous snakes, spiders, lizards…
Jim is preceded in death by his parents, Virgil and Christine, and by his step-father, Dennis Giles. He is survived by his 5 children: Dakota Miller of Cordell, Chris & Chelby Miller of Wichita Falls, TX, Skylar & Tess Claypool of Garland, TX, Tylar Claypool & fiancé, Emily Owens of Edmond, and Brett & Whitney Shae (Claypool) Williams of Weatherford, TX. He is also survived by six grandchildren: Katie, Gavin, Indy, Briar, Sage, and Adalin. Also surviving Jim are his three siblings: Sharon Miller of Coquille, OR Bob & Shari Miller of Dallas, OR, and Paul & Denise Miller of Coquille, OR. Jim leaves behind his special nieces and nephews whom he loved spoiling when they were growing up. They include (in order of birth) Jamie Allen, Jason Miller, Angie Dawn Goble, Dusty Miller, Bryan Miller, Gretchen Post, and Kari Bundy. He also had a special relationship with his aunt, Donna Gayle McAlister of Pawnee, and his uncle, Robert Crider of Farmersville, Texas.
Jim spent many years fishing the river in Hells Canyon on the eastern Oregon border. It was his favorite spot in the entire world and his desire after his death was to have his ashes spread over Hells Canyon and the Oregon Coast. This will take place in a private family ceremony in the future.
There will also be a celebration of Jim’s life at Union Center Cemetery in the rural Adams, OK panhandle area to be set at a future date. Friends are welcome to join the family in this celebration of Jim’s life. In lieu of flowers, please donate to a veteran’s organization of your choosing. The family would also like to encourage you to donate blood at your local blood bank in memory of Jim who donated regularly during his adult life.
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Oklahoma Blood Institute
901 N Lincoln Blvd, Oklahoma City OK 73104
Wounded Warrior Project
P.O. Box 758516, Topeka KS 66675