Cover photo for Lt. Col. (R) Francis Miller's Obituary
Lt. Col. (R) Francis Miller Profile Photo
1929 Lt. 2022

Lt. Col. (R) Francis Miller

May 29, 1929 — February 18, 2022

​Lt. Col. Francis Harold Miller was born in Swanton, Ohio in the community of Raab's Corner on May 29, 1929 at the onset of the Great Depression. He was born to Harold and Gertrude Miller and was the eldest of 4 children. He grew up on and helped work a 160-acre family farm owned by his grandfather. On the way to school each day, when he was just 5 years old, he helped his older aunt lead a few cows to a wooded area alongside the road to let the cows graze while he was in school and then led them back on his way home. Once he was big enough to steer the farm tractors, his dad would often drive him to the field and start the work, then give Frank control of the steering and jump off to do whatever he needed to do elsewhere. Once Frank had finished the work, he would drive the tractor to the field exit, turn off the engine and walk home.
Growing up, Frank acquired several nicknames. Everyone in the family and relatives called him Sonny throughout his life. In the first grade his teacher called him grandpa once because he wasn't very social and walked around the school yard with his hands folded behind his back. That name stuck until the 4th grade when the priest taught all the boys how to box. From that training, Frank was able to beat any other boy regardless of their size. That led to him to being the enforcer of good manners for the rest of his grade school years. He never had to hit anyone – just had to tell them to straighten up. This led to his third nickname; because of his boxing abilities and a movie about a tough kid named Butch, he was called Butch for the rest of his grade school years.
Frank attended Immaculate Conception School from 1st through 8th grade in a three room school house. He excelled in school and as a result, one of the school nuns impressed upon Frank's Dad to send him to a large Catholic High School in Toledo rather than the local high school. Frank's dad took the advice to heart and for the next 4 years Frank went to Central Catholic high school, about 20 miles away. After high school, Frank attended Hilder Prep school in Washington DC with the hopes of being accepted into the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Frank took the test for the Naval Reserves and achieved the 4th highest grade in the country and was then accepted into Annapolis in 1948. He graduated in 1952 in the top 3rd of his class. As a result, he was able to select his branch of service and chose the Air Force due to his desire to fly. He was stationed at Goodfellow Air Force base in San Angelo, Texas for pilot's training. It was there that he met the love of his life and soon to be wife, Catherine Josephine Rodeschin. Frank and Catherine dated for 8 weeks when Frank proposed on November 3rd, 1952. They married the following year at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City on August 8th, 1953.
After getting married, Frank was stationed in Panama City, Florida where he learned to fly the F-86D for surveillance over the Atlantic Ocean. He was then transferred to Ohio, where he obtained a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering at the Air Force Institute of Technology. Later, after qualifying on the F-4 Phantom at George AFB in California, he served in Vietnam where he flew 177 missions and earned 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses and the Air Medal with 9 Oak Leaf clusters. Overall, Frank and Catherine were stationed at 11 different Air Bases in 9 States and during that time were blessed with 9 children. His final military posting was working as lead engineering manager at SAMSO (Space and Missile Systems Organization) in El Segundo, California. In 1978, he retired from the Air Force as a Lt. Colonel. He then took a civilian job at Systems Development Corporation, later Unisys, where he ran international teams designing and deploying image satellites and worked on various other engineering projects, including the digitization of the Library of Congress. He retired from Unisys in 1990.
In his retirement, he took on small jobs and volunteered his time developing software for family members, his church's website and friends who requested help. He had a variety of hobbies and spent much of his free time playing golf (eventually shooting his age, including 2 holes-in-one), tennis, bridge, and poker. Together with his wife, he enjoyed traveling the world and went on many cruises, including to Asia, Europe, South America, and the Caribbean. Above all, Frank loved the Lord and loved and appreciated his family. Holidays and special occasions were always large gatherings spent with his children and grandchildren, and today, although we miss him greatly, we know that he has a big smile on his face as he looks upon Jesus.
Frank is predeceased by his son, Robert, daughters, Denise and Lisa, brother, Richard, and sister, Nancy. He is survived by his wife, Catherine, sons, Jeff (Candi), Richard, Paul, and James (Carla), daughters Ann (Pepper) and Jan, and sister, Connie, as well as 12 grandchildren, 6 great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
For information regarding services please contact Frank's daughter, Ann, at In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Frank's and Catherine's home church, St. Euphasia Catholic Church in Granada Hills, CA:

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