Cover photo for Harris E. Miller's Obituary
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1925 Harris 2023

Harris E. Miller

February 3, 1925 — November 13, 2023

Oak Park Heights

Harris Edgar Miller, age 98, passed away November 13, 2023.

Harris was born on February 3, 1925 in Duluth, Minnesota to Edgar and Leah Miller. Harris married Irene Rautio on September 6, 1947.

Following graduation from Denfeld High School in Duluth in 1943, Harris enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving in the 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment during the European Theater of Operation until 1945, most notably in Operation Dragoon, the Allied invasion of Provence in Southern France on August 14, 1944. Following the war, Harris attended college, graduating from the University of Denver with a B.S. degree in chemistry. He joined the Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps (Air-ROTC) at DU, and was commissioned Second Lieutenant upon graduation, receiving the Outstanding Military Graduate award. Following his service in World War II, Harris enlisted in the U.S. Air Force Reserves and was recalled to active duty during the Korean War. He retired from the military in 1980 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Harris dedicated his career to education as a math and science teacher, counselor, assistant principal, and 8 years as Principal of Woodland Junior High School in Duluth until 1965. He earned his Master of Arts in Educational Psychology from the University of Minnesota, Duluth. He received a Ph.D. degree in Education Administration at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Upon receiving his doctorate, he was appointed to the Research and Development Council at UMD. From 1970 until his retirement in 1986, Harris was Dean of Instruction at Lakewood Community College (now Century College) in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

Harris was a lifelong outdoorsman and skilled carpenter. In his teens, he earned the Eagle Scout award and worked as a fishing guide on the Gunflint Trail. He built a cabin on the Gunflint while living in Duluth, and later a retirement lake home in Finlayson, Minnesota, doing most of the carpentry himself. He also achieved a personal goal of earning his private pilot’s license. During his retirement, Harris served on the Big Pine Lake Association, volunteered at the University of Minnesota Raptor Center, and was a member of both the Lions Club and Sons of Norway. He was an active member of Forest Hills United Methodist Church in Forest Lake throughout his final years.

Harris was a man of integrity and quietly humble. He lived a long and active life, living independently until age 98.

Preceded in death by his loving and supportive wife of 69 years, Irene, and sons-in-law, Gary Foss and Philip Zollinger. Survived by daughters, Marcia (Jack) Schabel, Susan Zollinger, Claudia (Mark) Gelle; grandchildren, Michael (Heather), Megan (Timothy), Andrea (Moriah), Gunnar, Garrison, Maren (Paul), and Nathan; and great-grandchildren, Colton, Otto, Penelope, August, Arlo, and Bergen.

Sincere appreciation is extended to the staff at The Gables of Boutwells Landing for their compassionate and respectful care of Harris in his final days.

Memorial Service will be held at 2:00 p.m., Saturday, December 9, 2023 at Forest Hills Church, 1790 11th Street SE, Forest Lake, Minnesota.  The family will greet friends after the service for a continued time of sharing and followship. Private interment at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.  Memorials preferred to Forest Hills United Methodist Church or The Nature Conservancy.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Harris E. Miller, please visit our flower store.

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