David K. Miller
1941 ~ 2023
Captain David K. Miller, age 82, passed away on Aug. 28, 2023 from complications related to Alzheimer’s. David was born in East Peoria, Illinois to Herman Charles and Clara Marie Miller (Gustmann). The only son, he was the youngest of three siblings. David’s father worked at the huge Caterpillar assembly plant in Peoria.
David attended East Peoria High School. During these years music became a big part of his life. In high school he performed with the school choir, the school musical theater, and played trumpet in the school band. David also played baseball and stayed active with Boy Scouts.
Immediately after high school, Dave enlisted into the Air Fore and was trained as an aircraft mechanic. Most of his four-year enlistment was spent at Altus AFB, OK where he served as a mechanic on B-52s and KC-135s. He separated from active duty as an Airman First Class.
David married Judith Ann (Seppelt) on September 1, 1962 (living) while still on Air Force active duty. The couple would give birth to and parent two children, Amy Marie (Maldonado) born November 29, 1967 (living) and Matthew James Miller born February 16, 1970 (living).
The Air Force provided the inspiration to further his aviation education at the University of Illinois (Champaign/Urbana). He acquired most of his flight training for his FAA Commercial Pilot license, his Instrument Rating, and a Certified Flight Instructor license at the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana while concurrently earning an associate degree in Aircraft Maintenance.
David was hired by Northwest Airlines on November 21, 1966. His first assignment fresh out of NWA Flight Training was the classic Second Officer on the Boeing 727. His sequential crew positions were classic progression at the Minneapolis base; e.g., Boeing 720/320, the DC-10, and the Boeing 747/200. His initial captain checkout was on the Boeing 727, his last was as captain on the 747 Classic - what we called the IRC (International Relief Captain).
David receiving his last simulator check in the 747/200. His son Matthew Miller is checking out the copilot seat.
During the strikes and layoffs of the 1960s David ran a gas station in Apple Valley where he resided, worked as a night watchman at a Minneapolis bank, and was even employed as a hotel bellhop.
David retired from Northwest Airlines on March 31, 2001. During his NWA working career and while based in MSP, David sang in the St. Paul Barbershop Chorus. This chapter was to end upon retirement. In retirement David continued home improvement projects and traveled extensively with Judith. They spent winters in Ft. Myers, FL, during which time he sang in the church choir at Woodsmoke Camping Resort. He especially enjoyed time with family and friends and was reported to often be the ‘life of the party’. In addition, he was an active member of the Waterford development in Rosemont, MN and enjoyed helping his neighbors.
The D.K. Miller family
David was preceded in death by his parents and sister Mary Ellen. He is survived by his loving wife of 61 years, Judy; children, Amy Maldonado and Matthew Miller. Sister Dorothy Mae Riddle, grandchildren Miles, Aidan, Macy, Abby, Alice, and Eldon plus many nieces and nephews.
We will keep our ears tuned to David’s soothing voice.
(~ Bill Day)