Robert Jackson Miller Sr., age 90, was born on Aug. 1, 1932, in Houston, Mo. He passed away Dec. 9, 2022, at Willow Care Nursing Home in Willow Springs, Mo. After five girls, Robert and Helen (Flowers) Miller were delighted to welcome their first son they named William Robert Jackson Miller. Robert and Helen could not decide exactly what he should be named, so the doctor recorded his name as William Robert Jackson Miller on the birth certificate.
He was known by most everyone as Bob or Bobby. Bob was named after his dad, his maternal grandfather, Andrew Jackson Flowers, and his maternal great-grandfather, William Flowers. Around 1860, William and Mahala Flowers migrated from Tennessee to the Houston, Mo., area where in 1872 a permanent homestead was established in the Rocky Branch community.
Bob was born and grew up on his mom’s family farm adjacent to the original homestead. In 1962, Bob purchased the property of William and Mahala from heirs of his great uncle, and later also purchased the family farm where he grew up. He took great pride in the fact that he was able to purchase the homestead which, today, is recognized as a Missouri Century Farm and, to date, has been in the family for 150 years and continues to be in the family through his four children.
Bob attended school at the Rocky Branch schoolhouse through the eighth grade. Like many young men in the 1940’s, Bob started working outside the family home during his early teen years. He worked numerous jobs and saved enough money to buy a car prior to entering the service. In 1952, he joined the U.S. Army. He obtained the rank of Private First Class (PFC). He served as a medical specialist/practical nurse while stationed in Sendai, Japan, during the Korean War. He was honorably discharged in 1954 and received the Good Conduct Medal. He continued to serve in the Army Reserve until September 1962. Bob was a proud Korean War Veteran. In January 2017, Bob was honored as Patriot of the Month by the Missouri State Society Daughters of the American Revolution recognizing him for his outstanding patriotic service to our country.
Bob was united in marriage to Virginia Kay Bennett on April 12, 1963. To this union, four children were born. Bob was a jack of all trades and worked many jobs throughout his life. He worked at Producer’s Creamery (now known as DFA) for many years. He was often called upon by his co-workers to back the 18-wheelers in, because he “was able to back an 18-wheeler where no one else could.” Some of the other jobs Bob had include driving trucks, working for a company doing road construction and working in St. Louis doing housing construction. He worked as a bundle boy for HD Lee for 11 years. During winter weather, his supervisor would often send him out to bring other workers that were not otherwise able to make it in. Bob was known as a very skilled driver and could drive in any road condition. In addition to all the jobs, Bob also had beef cattle.
Bob taught all his kids and his neighbor boys how to drive a tractor. Bob had his kids driving his John Deere AR at the age of two. He would put it in granny gear and run back to feed hay bales off the wagon while the kids “drove” the tractor. When the kids would start driving toward a fence or pond, Bob would jump back on the tractor and straighten it out. One time when his oldest son, Bub was around three years old, Bob told Bub to drive the tractor. Bub asked his dad “it’s not in sixth gear, is it?” Bob told him “No!” Bub pushed the clutch in and away the old AR went full speed across the field in sixth gear, terrifying Bub. Bob was able to run and catch the tractor and stop it before disaster happened. Bob was a fast runner! His son, Mark, can attest to this because one time when he was in trouble, he tried to outrun his dad. Mark claims to this very day that the only reason his dad caught him was because he turned around to see how close dad was.
Deer season was always a special time for Bob. He looked forward to spending time with his good friends, brothers, nephews and other relatives who would come to hunt on his property. Like his father before him, Bob, an avid fisherman and hunter, loved hunting the land, floating and fishing the Piney River and taking his kids camping. He was also known to load up his dad and his kids to watch his brother Moe race cars at Cabool and West Plains.
In 1981, Bob and Kay built a dairy barn and started milking cows. After 20 years, they retired from milking in 2001. Bob then kept busy taking care of his beef cows, tinkering around the farm, going to auctions and helping his neighbors, friends and family whenever called upon.
Bob was known and loved by so many friends and relatives in the Houston area. Everyone knows how much he loved to “visit.” Visiting Bob meant hours of long-winded stories and lots and lots of talking. If “talking one’s leg off” was not just a saying, there would be many one-legged folks around Houston.
Bob loved and was very proud of his grandkids. When they were little, he enjoyed taking them to check the cows and taking them on tractor rides. He got a kick out of his grandkid’s response to his “magic” anvil that would leave half sticks of chewing gum for Megan, Andrew and Kaytlyn. That anvil was kept very busy. Grandpa always had a half stick of gum, butterscotch, or spearmint candy for the grandkids. His grandson, Cade, especially remembers grandpa giving him orange candy and money! Bob was Jaycee and Cassidy’s biggest fan at their middle school basketball games and could be heard cheering them on!
Bob was a charter member of the Rocky Branch Church where he attended during his childhood. He was saved and baptized at a young age. In later years, Bob and Kay attended Clara Baptist Church regularly. When Bob’s health began to decline, and the kids found out about a few “tractor incidents,” he became a resident at Willow Care Nursing Home in October 2014. A couple weeks before his passing, while Bub and Holly were visiting him at the nursing home, Bob said, “I’m not going to be here much longer.” When asked where he was going, he said “to heaven.”
Bob is preceded in death by three brothers, James “JC” Clayton Miller, Raymond Roy “Bud” Miller and Carroll Lloyd “Moe” Miller; and five sisters, Hazel Goldie Hicks, Gladys Marie Revels, Geneva Bernice Smith, Erma Lee Gaddy and Lucretia “Pat” Elizabeth Lewis. Bob is survived by his wife, Virginia Kay; two sons, Robert “Bub” and wife Regina Miller, Mark and wife Sandra Miller; daughters, Holly and husband Glen Robertson, and Tiffany Miller, all of Houston; six grandchildren, Megan and husband Steve Armstrong, Andrew Miller, Cassidy and Cade Robertson, all of Houston; Kaytlyn Huff of Norwich, Conn., and Jaycee Huff of Hollister, Mo.; and one great-grandchild, Amelia Cora Jane Armstrong of Houston, Mo. Bob is also survived by a sister, Joyce Kay Slatner of Lake Geneva, Wisc. and a brother, James “Jim” Edgar Boswell of Polo, Mo. He was blessed with many nieces, nephews and extended family.
Dad will be carried to his final resting place on the farm he loved by a hay wagon pulled by the John Deere 820 tractor driven by his son Mark. He will be laid to rest near his great grandparents, William and Mahala Flowers and other ancestors, in the Flowers Family Cemetery currently located on a hill overlooking the original homestead.
A visitation for Bob is 1 to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022, at Evans Funeral Home. A funeral service will start at 2 p.m. at Evans Funeral Home. Burial will follow in the Flowers Family Cemetery. Memorial contributions are welcome to the Flowers Family Cemetery in loving memory of Bob. Please make checks out to Robert Miller Jr. Online condolences may be left at www.evansfh.com. Arrangements entrusted to Evans Funeral Home, Houston, Mo.