William Daniel Miller
William Daniel “Danny” Miller, of Smithville, TX died on Saturday, April 2nd, 2016. He was diagnosed with cancer of unknown origin just before Christmas of 2015. Although his battle was brief, it was valiant. He handled it all exceedingly well and with enormous grace and dignity. As far as we know, this is the only fight he ever lost.
He is survived by his parents, Norm and Christine Metzner of Fullerton, California, sister Gail Gunderson and her husband Matt of Riverside, California, daughter Heidi Harrington (31) and her two children Brendan and Dylan Morris of Rancho Cucamonga, California, daughter Sofia Miller (16) and her mother and step-father, Leah and Chris Torti of Liberty Hill, TX, and children Odin (11) and Izabel (8)Miller, and their mother Michelle Pollock of West Covina, California. He is also survived by his best friend and the love of his life, Annette Valdes of Smithville, TX.
Danny was born in Colorado, but grew up in California. He lived a full and, let’s just say, “colorful” 50 years.
Danny was a big machinery mechanic by trade. He was great with his hands and quite ingenious when it came to fixing stuff. He never met a machine he couldn’t improve with his tinkering. In fact, when he was released from the hospital and returned to his home with hospice care, the hospice nurse was unable to set up his pain medication machine. He was weak, tired, dirty, and hungry, but he sat there and did it himself, while the nurse looked on.
Danny loved the great outdoors, fishing, and drinking…and not always in that order. (Wink wink.) He spent as much time as he could outside, and shared his enthusiasm for it with his children. He once killed a rattlesnake with his bare hands, while his daughter, Sofia, watched wide-eyed from his truck. Okay, maybe he didn’t kill it with his bare hands, but he did kill it with a stick and later skinned it and cooked it up for supper. He also invented a sort of swing/zip line contraption between his house and the trees. One day, he put his youngest daughter, Izzy on it. As it happened, the wind suddenly picked up and she was flying through the air, practically in the tree tops. That was a ride she will never forget. There are so many other funny stories that we have to remember him by. One thing’s for sure, he could never be accused of being a boring dad.
If you happened to run into him on the street, you might consider switching to the other side. He was an old school Orange County punk, with lots of tattoos and a menacing face. But if you stopped to look in those bright blue eyes of his, you would see the twinkle and zest for life. He was the perfect example of not judging a book by its cover. He was truly one of the most endearing, funny, grouchy, and annoying people on earth. If you are lucky enough to be alive and to read this, take some time to get to know people who aren’t like you…you might be surprised what you find.
The family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to our friend, Elaine Krogfoss. Her love, help, and willing attitude are unparalleled and we would not have been able to get by without her. We would also like to thank the owners and employees at Paige Tractor for their generosity and kindness, as well as Hospice Austin for their compassionate and skilled care.
We have no “in lieu of flowers” here. Feel free to send flowers to us, to your loved ones, or to your enemies. Other “Danny approved” choices would be to donate to an animal shelter, the Flatwater Foundation, or a charity of your choice. Heck, we might even encourage you to give a buck or two, a blanket, or a beer to a homeless person. And Danny would encourage each of you to really live, not just go through the motions. That’s what we plan on doing.
RIP, Danny boy, we will miss you and love you forever. A Celebration of Life service was held at Unity Church of the Hills, 9905 Anderson Mill Rd., Austin, TX on Friday, April 8th, at 2:00 in the afternoon.