Thomas Jefferson (T.J.) Miller, Jr., 98, formerly of Marble Hill, passed away on July 13, 2021 at the Missouri Veterans Home in Cape Girardeau, MO.
T.J. was born on March 15, 1923 at Grassy Creek in western Bollinger County to Thomas Jefferson (Jeff) and Ruth Ellen (Perkins) Miller. As a child, he attended Burke School on Castor River, later graduating from Lutesville High School in 1942.
He worked on the family farm until he was drafted into the Army Air Corps on January 23rd 1943. After completion of initial training and schools in St. Petersburg, FL and Ft. Monmouth, NJ, he was assigned to the 84th Fighter Wing as a clerk with radio training. He was transported on the Queen Mary to England in order to join his unit in Scotland. Debarking at Utah Beach in Normandy, France, shortly after the initial D-Day invasion, he performed duties with his unit in northern France, Belgium, Maastricht, Holland, and Fürstenfeldbruck, Germany. On October 10th, 1945 Sergeant Miller was separated from the Army Air Corps at Jefferson Barracks, MO and returned to the family farm at Grassy.
While home on leave, T.J. and Mildred Grindstaff were married at Jackson, MO, on October 28, 1943. The couple took up residence in Lutesville after WW II before moving to St. Louis where he worked for Lincoln-Mercury. They later returned to the Hahn area and bought a general store where T.J. was appointed the Postmaster for Hahn. Their first three children Judy, Richard, and Elizabeth were born while the Miller’s lived in the Zalma area. In October 1950, they settled at Grassy, MO, where they bought a farm, grocery and feed store re-naming it Miller’s Store. The store also housed the Grassy Post Office for several decades. Their fourth child, Myra Kay was born after the family moved to Grassy.
M&G Gas Company was formed in 1961 by Mildred and T.J. and is still owned and operated by the Miller family. He later went on to found MO-KITA Distributing in 1979, which is still in operation today. They lived at Grassy until 1980 when they moved to Marble Hill.
T.J. was a past Worthy Patron of Victory Chapter #431 Order of the Eastern Star, Marble Hill, MO. He was a 73 year member of Zalma Masonic Lodge #545, 50 year Scottish Rite member of the Valley of St. Louis and 50 year member of Moolah Shriners in St. Louis. T.J. was the last surviving charter member of VFW Post #5900 in Marble Hill, MO.
Survivors include; children, Judy Carolyn Rhodes of Marble Hill, MO; Richard Alan Miller of Cherokee Pass; Elizabeth Ann Durham (Terry) of Cedar Rapids, IA; Myra Kay Underwood (Rick) of Marble Hill, MO; six grandchildren, nineteen great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife Mildred, siblings Frieda and Buford and grand-daughter Kerri.
T.J. was a caring, loving husband, father and grandfather, as well as a philanthropist and loyal friend to many people.
Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at Hutchings Funeral Chapel in Marble Hill. Funeral service will be Saturday at 1 p.m. at the funeral home. Burial with military honors will follow at Baker Cemetery with grandsons and great-grandsons serving as pallbearers.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions to the Missouri Veterans Home, 2400 Veterans Memorial Dr., Cape Girardeau, MO 63701.
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