Miller, a Harrison Township resident, served as a circuit court judge from 1998 until he retired in 2010. He became a judge after serving as a magistrate for the state’s Worker’s Compensation Appellate Commission for seven years.
Born June 17, 1938, in Grand Rapids, Miller had a passion for aviation. He started flying aircraft at the age of 16 and earned his pilot’s license by the age of 17.
He attended Michigan State University on an Air Force ROTC scholarship and became a commissioned Air Force officer in 1961. Miller served in Vietnam, flying combat missions from Da Nang and Tan Son Nhut air bases.
After he was discharged, Miller continued flying with the Michigan Air National Guard. He retired from the military in 1988 with the rank of colonel after serving as commander of the Selfridge Air National Guard Base and as director of operations for the base’s 127th Tactical Fighter Wing. He was honored to fly an F-100 on its last flight to Andrews AFB, MD before it was towed to the Smithsonian’s Udvar Hazy National Air and Space Museum where it is on display to over four million of visitors each year.
During his time as Selfridge’s commander, Miller married his wife of 35 years, who also served in the U.S. House.
Chief Macomb County Circuit Court Judge James Biernat had kind words to say about Miller. Biernat was appointed to the judge’s seat on the county court’s bench when he retired.
“Don was well-respected for his judicial temperament and leadership qualities,” Biernat said in a statement Friday. “He spent his entire adult life serving the citizens of this country in one capacity or another. He was a mentor to many young attorneys including myself, and his death is a real loss to the community. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Candice and their family.”
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel also issued a statement about Miller’s passing.
“My condolences go out to former Congresswoman and Secretary of State Candice Miller and the family, friends, and colleagues of Judge Donald Miller,” she said in a statement. “Judge Miller will be remembered by his colleagues and servicemen as a man dedicated to service of his country and the people of Michigan.”
Michigan Republican Party Chairman Ron Weiser also echoed her sentiments.
“Judge Miller was an amazing public servant,” Weiser said in a statement. “From his military service to his time on the bench, Judge Miller put his country first and his leadership and commitment to public service will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers are with Congresswoman Miller and the Miller family.”
Funeral arrangements, which are pending, are being made through the William Sullivan & Sons funeral home in Utica.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be sent to the Selfridge Military Air Museum, 27333 C Street, Bldg 1011, Selfridge ANGB, Michigan, 48045; or the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 154, 18025 E. 15 Mile, Clinton Township, Michigan, 48035.