Don Miller - (1930-2012)
(1930 – 2012)
Don Miller passed away at his home in Martindale, Texas, on Saturday, December 1st (Pearl day) after a long bout with cancer. (See photos at bottom of this page)
Don loved music and he came to the Pearl Bluegrass jams almost every month to see and play with his friends even though he lived way over in Martindale, Texas. Sometimes Don would bring a whole van full of musicians to Pearl with him and he told us that his passengers would often all be playing and singing music in the back of his van during the whole trip while Don drove.
Don played bass for many of the bands at Pearl and there were several times when he hardly got off the stage the whole day. The bands would change every 45 minutes but Don would stay up on stage and play for them all.
Don loved music. In addition to the bass, Don also played excellent Texas-style backup guitar for contest fiddlers, and he also played mandolin, fiddle, banjo, and dobro. In his house Don had a photo on his wall that he said he took with a tripod and a timer using "triple exposure" to make it look like he was triplets! In the picture it looked like there were 3 of him, one Don playing banjo, one Don playing fiddle, and one Don playing guitar!
Don also was well known for telling funny jokes. If there was ever a lull while the bands were switching instruments, they could always turn to Don and he would quickly keep the audience entertained with one of his good jokes.
Donald Eugene Miller was born in Austin, Texas in 1930 to Grace and John J. Miller. Don graduated from Austin High School. Don served in the United States Army during the Korean conflict. He was stationed in Germany and worked as an aircraft mechanic.
After his tour of duty, Don attended the University of Texas. In 1958, Don took a position with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. After 30 years service, Don retired and was able to devote more time to his many interests which included herpetology, target shooting, old-time fiddling, and blue grass music. Don was responsible for helping many young people get a start in music, especially "fiddling."
An avid reader, with an almost photographic memory, Don's library reflected his diverse interests and intellectual curiosity. He collected guns, musical instruments, cameras, books, stories, jokes and friends. Don is survived by his sister, Juanita Vaughn, three nephews, one niece, their spouses and children and many friends.
A memorial gathering and jam to remember Don was held at Don's house in Martindale on April 20, 2013.