Cover photo for Rev. William Dale Miller M.Div's Obituary
Rev. William Dale Miller M.Div Profile Photo
1927 Rev. 2022

Rev. William Dale Miller M.Div

April 24, 1927 — October 15, 2022

Indianapolis, IN

Reverend William Dale Miller, M.Div 

(4/24/1927 – 10/15/2022)

William Dale Miller was born at home on April 24th, 1927, the 2nd youngest of 5 children, to Winter Dale Miller and Gladys Vivian (Murray) Miller.  He was the only boy of the 5, and his father was rarely home due to his job as a train engineer with the B&O Railroad leaving him to be raised in a small house of otherwise all women.  His sisters, Mary Kay, Emily Jean, Margaret, and Carol always called him Billy Dale, but to most of the world, he was known just by his middle name, Dale.

They lived in the small town of North Vernon in southern Indiana which, at the time, was known as the “Crossroads of Indiana” due to the 90 plus trains that passed through the town every day on multiple tracks.  Two years after Dale was born, the great stock market crash of 1929 hit followed by the Great Depression which lasted until World War II. Times were pretty lean for the Millers, but they all contributed to the family’s well-being and never went without the basics thanks to Gladys’ frugality, discipline, and inventiveness.

In high school, Dale ran track, but wasn’t allowed to play football due to being “too skinny”.  He played saxophone and piano, and his piano teacher urged him to play professionally.  While he never did, he continued to love playing throughout his life.  After a family move a few miles west, Dale graduated from Seymour High in 1945 as World War II was drawing to a close.

He enlisted as soon as he could in the U.S. Navy and served as a Steam Boiler Operator aboard the U.S.S. Fremont (APA-44, NH 86966) – a 492-foot Bayfield-class Attack Transport capable of carrying large numbers of troops and launching amphibious landing craft.  By the time Dale boarded her, she had already been heavily engaged in many of the most important Pacific operations.  As the war was ending and Dale was coming aboard, she was involved in ferrying large numbers of troops back to Pearl Harbor for discharge as well as “occupation duty” around the Japanese islands.  He served 2 or 3 years active duty and an additional 6 inactive years in the Naval Reserves.

Upon returning home, he began studying for the ministry.  He attended multiple colleges including Drew, Taylor, Indiana University, and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary receiving a B.S. in Social Services from IU, and a Master of Divinity from Louisville Pres. He entered the pastoral ministry with the United Methodist Church around 1953 and served at several dozen churches over the next 39 years.

In April of 1957, Dale married long-time family friend Vivian June Hughbanks whom he had known for years.  Vivian was the only daughter of Rev. Chester and Martha Hugbanks.  Chester had been the Miller family’s pastor and friend for many years, and Vivian had been a close friend of Dale’s sisters.

Dale served in many small country churches before their marriage – often more than one at a time.  After their marriage he pastored in Hartsville, Columbus, Charlestown, Vincennes, Indianapolis, Carmel, Crawfordsville, and ultimately retiring from Lawrence United Methodist in Indianapolis 1992. After his retirement, he continued to take on pastoral positions, including Wilkinson UMC and Northview Christian Life in Carmel.  Dale was the head of the prayer ministry and pastoral visitation at Northview until August of 2004. Until his last breath he had a passion for prayer ministry and would pray with anyone who would let him. He loved people and sought to serve them as best he knew how. After Northview he worked at Indianapolis International Airport as a wheelchair assistant for several years.

For many years, Vivian had worked as a secretary at Lawrence United Methodist while Dale pastored other churches.  There, she met a very active member named Jan Miller and the two became best friends. Jan’s oldest son was Tim Miller who would later marry Vivian’s younger daughter Andrea Miller. Though the two had heard of one another through their respective mothers, they never met until after both had completed college.  Dale was finally appointed to Lawrence UMC in 1985, and Tim became the youth pastor after college in 1986.  When Andrea moved back home after living for a time in Ohio, the two met and were married in Dec 1989.

Dale was a member of various clubs throughout his life including Kiwanis, Lions Club, Rotary Club, and Sertoma Club. He was actively involved in the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International during the 1970’s and 80’s, as well as a ministry program called Evangelism Explosion.  He made multiple mission trips to Africa, China, and South Korea, and had the privilege of traveling to Israel twice with Vivian.

Perhaps it was portentous that Charles Lindberg completed his famous solo flight across the Atlantic less than a month after Dale was born.  Throughout his life, Dale was fascinated with airplanes, flying, and all things aviation related.  He built models, hung out at airfields and airshows, and found a way to work airplanes into nearly every conversation.  He began taking flying lessons at a young age and had time in at least 15 different aircraft with probably over 200 hours flying time, but never actually received a license. He often would say he was going to the local airport so he could “smell the paint” on the planes.  He always dreamed of building his own airplane.

Dale was preceded in death by his wife Vivian (11/2005), his 4 sisters: Mary Kay (Miller) Cleavlin, Emily Jean Miller, Margaret (Miller) Philips, and Carol (Miller) Johnson, and their spouses.  He is survived by his two daughters: Kathleen Dale Miller and Andrea Beth (Miller) Miller; her husband Tim Miller, and 1 grandson: Daniel Joseph Miller.  Dale fiercely loved all his family near and far.

Dale spent his final years at American Village Assisted Living, where he would pray with anyone willing, performed a few church services, bragged on his family, and loved to joke around with the nurses. He was the consummate king of “dad jokes”.  Early on Saturday morning Oct 15, 2022, he slipped away peacefully in his sleep at the age of 95 into the arms of his Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  “Well done good and faithful servant……enter into the joy of the Lord.” Matthew 25:23

A Celebration of Life service will be held on Sat Oct 29th at Lawrence United Methodist Church at 5200 N. Shadeland Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46226.  Visitation will be from 10 am – 12pm, with the funeral service at 12 pm.  He will be cremated and interred at Washington Park East Cemetery, Indianapolis, IN per his request.  Funeral Arrangements provided by Legacy Cremation & Funeral Services – Lawrence.

For those who would prefer to make a donation in lieu of flowers, those can be made to the missions ministry of Dale’s very close friend Lowell Wertz at Joy in the Harvest, P.O. Box 496, Lansing, IL 60438, 219-365-7908.

[email protected], www.joyintheharvest.com

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Rev. William Dale Miller M.Div, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Saturday, October 29, 2022

10:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

Lawrence United Methodist Church

5210 Shadeland Avenue, Lawrence, IN 46226

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Funeral Service

Saturday, October 29, 2022

12:00 - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

Lawrence United Methodist Church

5210 Shadeland Avenue, Lawrence, IN 46226

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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