January 15, 2009

A 'Tip' on remembering your roots

By Julie Arbach

According to a popular Sugarland song, "they say there’s only one place that calls you one of their own." For John "Tip" Miller that place is Underwood. And when it comes to his hometown, Miller wears his heart on his sleeve. He speaks with deep emotion about growing up here. Miller has become familiar to many as an active promoter of the Underwood School Foundation and most recently a founding member of the Underwood Commercial Properties. Longtime Underwood residents, however, know him as a hometown boy that went on to achieve a great deal of success after graduating from UHS in 1953. In the past six years, Miller has dedicated both time and resources, giving back to his hometown. He humbly credits his success in part to the outstanding early education he received at UHS. Miller shares fond memories of the home where he grew up, across from St. Bonaventure Church, and next door neighbors of longtime business owners Syl and Marie Vonderheide. His father Ernest began working in the 1920s as a machinist at the Ford garage. Sophie, Miller’s mom, who had been a country school teacher near Kenmare, worked as a postal clerk under Postmaster Don Scott. "She was a very outgoing person and got to know everyone in town," said Miller. "I remember one cold Christmas Eve night before we ate our lutefisk, my mother asking me to go out to Gateway, she said there was a relief agent at the depot and I was to get him and bring him home for dinner.


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