Longtime store owner and high-school sports aficionado turned 96 on Feb. 29
CARNATION–Legendary shopkeeper and local sportswriter Howard Miller was honored Feb. 29 at his (24th) leap year birthday party held in the Main Street dry goods store he founded in 1938.
Howard, who was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin in 1916, and his wife Marion ran Miller’s Dry Goods for 44 years. The landmark business was sold in the early 1980s when the couple retired. They had two children – Martin, who lives with his wife Kathy in Ellensburg, and Marilyn, a Bellingham resident.
Although Howard enjoyed the business and his many loyal customers, his real passion was Tolt High School sports. For decades he was the high school sports writer for the Snoqualmie Valley Record. In appreciation of his dedication to the student athletes, the school district honored the longtime reporter by naming the school’s athletic field after him.
Miller was also very active in the local American Legion post.
“He is a really good person, humble and caring; if anyone needed help he was there,” said Marilyn, who added that her father is the oldest of four siblings who are all still alive and live in the Greater Seattle area.
Marion passed away in 1989. Howard currently lives at the Red Oak assisted living facility in North Bend.
Howard’s former dry goods store building was purchased by Lee Grumman in May of 2004. After considerable remodeling the building was re-opened in November of that year as Miller’s Community and Arts Center. A gift shop was added in December 2007.
Marilyn said the family appreciated the fact that Grumman kept the Miller’s name on the store and that she hosted the well-attended birthday celebration for Howard.
“Lee has been so supportive,” Marilyn said. “My father loved the party and seeing and talking to everyone there.”
Grumman invited guests to bring their memories and perhaps an item purchased from the store when Howard was running it. She said one man came wearing a set of hip waders he had bought at Miller’s Dry Goods many years ago.