Merle Floyd Miller, a loving husband, father, and grandfather, entered into eternal peace Saturday, February 19, 2022. He was born in August 1936 in Atascadero and resided for the majority of his life in San Luis Obispo County.
Merle was the first of three children of Floyd and Roberta (Goetsch) Miller. Farming and livestock were a part of his life from the day he was born. His great grandparents, Nelly and Robert Lukey, settled in the Willow Creek area of Templeton, California, in 1886. He grew up on the family ranch with his brother Rod Miller and sister Joanne Cummings. Like most children in that area, he attended the one-room Oakdale School House in Willow Creek and then attended Templeton High School from 1951 to 1955.
In his youth, he farmed the family ranch, was a member of the Templeton 4-H and later Templeton FFA. It was a natural path for him to further his education at Cal Poly State University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanized Agriculture in 1962.
In 1962 he married his first wife, Diana Reinert Miller (1939-2008), and they made their home in Paso Robles, where they raised their two daughters, Kelly Roth and Stacy Miller Bonnifield. He became the farming/ranch manager for Jackson and Reinert, which he and his partner, Jack King, later purchased in the 1970s and changed the name to Miller and King Ranches. He continued to farm and raise award-winning cattle. He was very proud to not only win with his cattle in the show ring but also numerous Cal Poly Feeding Futurity competitions.
He was blessed with many opportunities and accomplishments in his life. He was a proud member of the United States Navy from 1955-57, was a founding member and served on the Heritage Oaks Bank board, served as a board member of the National Chianina Association, founding member of Saint Springs Water Company in Russia, member of the San Luis Obispo County Cattlemen’s Association and the San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau, and was a California Mid-State Fair Lifetime Heritage Foundation Charter Member.
In 2013 he married his second wife, Kathy Bibby, and lived in Los Alamos for four years. He continued his love of agriculture, rebuilding and maintaining the Santa Ynez High School’s school farm. In 2017 they moved back to San Luis Obispo County and made Atascadero home.
He was a passionate agriculturalist his entire life: From the very beginning milking cows and farming as a young boy, to starting his own Angus herd, to managing a 10,000-acre farming/cattle ranch, to owning his own ranch and a cattle herd of 350 mother cows producing market and show cattle for 4-H and FFA members, to later in life being an avid gardener and fruit tree orchard enthusiast.
He is survived by his wife, Kathy Bibby; daughters Kelly Miller Roth and Stacy Miller Bonnifield; son-n-laws, Mitch Roth and Jim Bonnifield; sister and brother-in-law Joanne and Bob Cummings; and grandchildren Garrett Merle Roth, Carly Treana (Roth) Paul and Jacob Paul. He was preceded in death by his parents, Floyd and Roberta Miller, first wife Diana Miller, and brother Rodney Miller.
A Celebration of Life will be held Wednesday, March 2, 2022, from 1-4 pm at the family ranch, 77990 Ranchita Canyon Rd. San Miguel, CA. 93451
In lieu of flowers, the family encourages memorial donations to the following associations Merle supported: Paso Robles Pioneer Museum 2010 Riverside Ave. Paso Robles, CA 93446 and Templeton Historical Museum, P.O. 292, Templeton, CA 93465.