James Philip Miller

1943 ~ 2022

Obit Photo Phillip Miller final

   Captain Philip Miller, age 79.  Philip was born in Chinook, Montana to Henry and Marguerite Miller, the eldest of three children. The family moved to the Kona Ranch outside of Missoula, Montana in 1957.

   A precocious boy, he would pack into the Bitterroot Mountains on horseback spending several days tending to his many traps. Or he could be found in the cowboy bunkhouse tearing into an in-operative radio or television set. His father had worked for Lockheed pre-WW II. There was always an airplane around the ranch, and someone to “give the kid” a ride. Later, Philip would log flying hours over that same terrain while spotting cattle that had wandered away from the herd.

   Employment at Johnson’s Flying Services in Missoula, Montana enabled Philip to pay for his initial flight training and earn his private license shortly after his 16th Birthday. His passion for flying had begun. The time spent in the cockpit nurtured his eagerness to become an airline pilot, along with his desire to sit in the left seat of “the biggest and the best”.  From a PA-11 Cub to the “Queen of the Skies”, he never surrendered that goal. He returned to Johnson’s building more flight time in one of the front seats of the C-47 (DC-3) firefighting, hauling cargo, and spraying for insects…

   He attended Culver Military Academy in Indiana and the US Naval Academy in Maryland. His time at Annapolis was cut short with the untimely death of his father. Returning to Montana to work the ranch and fulfill several government road building projects, he graduated from Montana State University in 1965, remaining in the US Navy reserve until 1967.

   Initially hired by United Airlines in 1965, Philip joined pilot training at Northwest Orient Airlines in January 1966. In the years that followed, his logbook would show he flew First Officer and Second Officer on the B-707, and Captain on the B-727, DC-10, B-757, B-747-200, and B-747-400.

   Based in Seattle, he developed a love for sailing, maintaining a 41’ Spencer ketch at the Seattle Yacht Club. He enjoyed offshore cruising many oceans and the Puget Sound inland waterways.

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  Before and after retirement, Philip was known as the “Ace Hardware Man” in Friday Harbor WA where he resided for several years. The familiar sight of the Cessna 206 departing or landing on the airstrips of the San Juan Islands always meant that a special order had arrived for a customer, perhaps a new prop for a skipper in distress, or many times, a critical flight with a passenger bound for a mainland hospital.

  A love for God and Country, family, and the desire to leave this earth a better place, was his eternal purpose.

  Captain Miller retired in 2003 after 38 years with Northwest Airlines. His departures through life were made with the blessed assurance that his passport was forever valid and certified permanent for entrance into the Kingdom of God whenever that day should come.

   He is survived by his wife, Phyllis, residing on Camano Island, WA.

   Jay Miller and his wife Diana and 2 grandchildren.

   Rylee (Miller) Shumaker and 2 great-children.

   Mimi (Miller) Cavaye and partner Louis, and 2 grandchildren.

   Kristine Hubbard

   Rod Hubbard and his wife Wendy and 2 grandchildren.  

   (- Phyllis Miller)