Dancing Bear Celebrating the Life of Dick Miller Dancing Bear
 

Richard "Dick" Miller
February 20, 1940 to January 7, 2023

Born: Oregon, IL - Residence: Middleton, WI - Died: Las Vegas, NV
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Send a Remembrance to the Miller Family:
Miriam & Dick Miller in Colorado - More Images Below
Dick & Miriam Miller
This Letter to Miriam Miller by Gerhard Bernhard is the Perfect Tribute to Dick

Dear Miriam,

So sorry about the passing of my dear friend, a beautiful family man with a big heart. He showed the courage, wisdom and faith that only few people have. Always humble, open minded and always with a great sense of humor. Grace and I are sending our sincere condolences to you, Lisa and Ben and your family!

I treasure all my good memories Dick and I shared all the way back to 1966 when we met on the ski lift at Mount Telemark in Wisconsin. We clicked and became friends for life. Together shared countless ski trips to Telemark and other Midwestern ski areas with AYH over many years. We also enjoyed Colorado ski vacations in Vail, Winter Park and Aspen.

During summer months we often met in Joliet playing tennis where Dick was a HS teacher and tennis coach. He was very patient teaching me his legendary “mean back hand slice” which was always a winner for him. Tennis pros could have taken lessons from him on this. Together we also visited my sister’s farm in Tremont, IL to go horseback riding. This was also a way to introduce him to my family and learn about life on a farm or ranch.

AYH members often raved about Door County for its great sailing, biking, hiking as well as being an arts, music and entertainment haven. Dick and I decided to see it and experience it ourselves. Another reason to go to Door County was to see “in action” two friends who worked at the Peninsula Players in Fish Creek during summer seasons. One was an actress we met on the ski slope at Telemark, the other was a neighbor of mine in Chicago. Both were also actors at the Chicago’s Goodman Theatre.

On the schedule at the Peninsula Players was “The last of the red hot Lovers” by Neil Simon. The play was so hilariously funny, we had to laugh continuously for almost two hours. I felt I had stomach cramps from laughing so hard. After the play we went backstage for a happy reunion with our actor friends.

During this trip, my first visit to the Door County in 1969, the thought occurred to me that this would be a good place to retire some day. When I eventually made the move to Door County, my intention was to get involved in the vibrant arts, music and entertainment scene to make some kind of contribution. My hope was to start new projects which would be satisfying to me and enjoyable for others.

When I started the DCFF in 1980 it was obvious that Dick was going to be part of it. Having been involved in working with children the choice was clear to put you and Dick in charge of the children’s program. The idea behind it was two-fold: it gave the children something creative to do and enabled parents to attend dance workshops without worrying about their kids. Paul and I were very happy that the two of you used your creative spirits to make it fun and interesting for the children over all these years!

Much love, Gerhard and Grace


There's not a lot I can add to Gerhard's excellent summation of their friendship and of Dick's participation in and importance to DCFF

 

The Friday after Thanksgiving 2022, I had breakfast (in Middleton) with Dick, Miriam and their daughter Lisa who was visiting from Portland, OR. After finding the wait at the usual place we went to in Middleton, was going to be 45 minutes or more, Miriam suggested that we go to a nearby Albanian restaurant which turned out to be an excellent idea.There was no waiting and wners were extremely friendly and gracious. They became especially excited when we told them of our afiliation with ethnic folk dance events and that we knew Michael Kuharski.

One of the things we discussed at breakfast was Dick's new preference to being called "Richard", saying that, "I've finally gotten tired of being such a 'Dick' for all these years." It was a bit difficult to make the switch as since 1980 I had known him as "Dick". I'm not sure that Gerhard knew about Dick's new name preference.

I met Dick and Miriam at the first DCFF and we became fast friends. I made it a point to visit them whenever I traveled to or passed through the Madison Area. For over 20 years I did a week-long dance residency at the Spring Hill Middle School in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. For many of those years, Dick and MIriam would come up on Friday to help out with the logistics of the final day, which was a big performance by the students and sometimes by the teachers. While not Folk Dance "addicts", Dick and Miriam would participate in the teacher's performances and would also take videos of the event.

Dick and Miriam graciously conducted the DCFF Youth/Children's Activities Programs for most of the Festival's years, being assisted from time to time by Patricia Gladchild, Sanna Longden, Patti Cohen, Liz Amos, Meg Dedolph, myself and others.

Over the years, they led activities for youth and kids of all ages – including parents and grandparents! Initially the main beneficiaries of the youth/kids’ activities program were DCFF participants who wanted some activities for their children while they participated in Festival workshops. Soon, many vacationers, residents, and even Northern Door YMCA Day campers began to participate in these wholesome and fun events.

Their programs included singing traditional youth/kid’s folk songs, creating puppets, painting rocks, as well as some easily accessible international folk dances and creative games, story telling, face painting, puppet shows, crafts, singing and a variety of group games, such as volleyball, tag, "spud", tree tag, and various relay races, "nature bingo", 500, touch football and of course, animal Olympics. They learned that the most favorite activities were rock painting, sand candle making, parachute games, volleyball and some basic folk songs and dances. 

Dick and Miriam were avid volleyball players along with Paul Wagner, Cindy Schlosser and myself and we tried to organize camp volleyball games from time to time. They were also involved in marriage counseling and I recall the discovery that one method they used (Bob Terry's "Diamond Process") was also a technique I had sometimes used in management consulting. I once arranged a meeting with Bob Terry in the Twin Cities and he was surprised and completely unaware that his process was being used by marriage counselors.

Dick and Miriam were not regular "folk dancers", but they would dance some at DCFF parties and at the Madison Folk Ball Festival. Miriam and I would get DIck to do a Lesnoto and other easier dances and they usually participated when I called a square or contra dance. Dick invited me to call an evening of American square and round dancing for his church a couple of times and invited me to provide music and lead dancing for their daughter Lisa's wedding.

A number of folk dancers often expressed the opinion that there was a strong resemblance between Dick Miller and the Israeli dance teacher/choreographer Danny Uziel - https://socalfolkdance.org/master_teachers/uziel_d.htm.

Dick and I had many long talks about life. He was a very good listener. I will miss Dick's wry sense of humor.

Dick and Miriam were on vacation and had flown to Las Vegas (cheap air fare) and had rented a car to visit relatives and friends who lived in the vicinity. Dick was feeling ill with flu-like symptoms so they decided to take things easy and stay in the motel on Friday. Dick passed away on Saturday due to heart failure.

The family will conduct a memorial service for Dick in the Madison, WI area on August 20, 2023. You may reach out to Miriam via the email address just above the photo at the top of this page.

Paul Collins

 

Animation - DIck & Miriam Childres's/Youth Activity Outcomes
2006 DCFF Miriam Dancing on the Pier (DIck Off-Camera-Left)
Dick & Miriam Miller

Dick & Miriam Miller

2019 DCFF Party - Rare Photo of Dick Dancing (powder blue shirt)
2019 DCFF Party - DIck Leaving the Dance Floor
Dick & Miriam Miller

Dick & Miriam Miller

2019 DCFF Party - Miriam Preparing ("Sampling") Deserts

2019 DCFF Party - Miriam & Judy Solomon Preparing Deserts
Dick & Miriam Miller

Dick & Miriam Miller

 

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