MISSOULA — John Thomas Miner passed away on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017. His family is grateful that he was able to be at home with his wife Dorothy and other family.
John was born in Billings on Jan. 13, 1934, to Leo and Etta Miner. It was here that he and his sister, Margaret and brother, Jim played and practiced their sense of humor on each other. They attended Fratt Catholic School where they added much interest/flavor/chagrin to the lives of the nuns who instructed them.
While in high school, John moved to Hardin where he met Dorothy Vandersloot (dubbed "the little dutchman" by him). She worked behind the soda fountain at a drug store. He was the new "cool" kid who thought a little too much of his social standing, so began a lifelong tradition of Dorothy keeping John in line. Local kids would gather at the American Legion to play 45s and dance. It turns out that he was a pretty good dancer, so Dorothy took notice and was able to get past the not so great first impression and ended up inviting him to a picnic. They were married on Oct. 24, 1953, and spent an astonishing 64 years together.
John Miner built his life across the state of Montana, following the path of the highways and roads he constructed.
After graduating high school, John began working for the Montana Department of Transportation as a surveyor. He worked on highways across Montana for 30 years, ending up as a project engineer. His responsibilities included procuring right-of-ways and coordinating with contractors. John and Dorothy's family grew. Their first three children were born in Hardin. The younger three were born in Billings. John's last project was the completion of Interstate 90 from St. Regis to Lookout Pass.
He was particularly interested in making the transition from highway to bridge smooth and unnoticeable to drivers. He was the same way in social situations, always congenial and making sure everyone was taken care of. He had an incredible sens of humor and often made quiet, witty observations about the absurdity happening around him, typically caused by his children, grandchildren or assorted sons-no-good-in-laws. They may have been quiet so Dorothy would hear them.
Upon retirement, with the children mostly raised, John was able to devote some time to perfecting his golf game. He enjoyed playing for many years with The Tuesday Morning Geritol League at Highlands Golf Club. After a round of golf John would enjoy a bourbon of questionable quality. He could grill a mean steak for whichever family members were lucky enough to be in the vicinity. He and Dorothy spent several winters traveling south to Arizona, enjoying the sights. He liked to watch the Yankees, the Griz and Gonzaga and he loved to catch his kids changing the channel if he fell asleep watching a football game.
Preceded by his parents Leo and Etta Miner, the aunts — Anna Ray, Katherine Ray and Nettie Jones, his brother James Miner.
Survived by wife Dorothy, sister Margaret, children: Collette (Norman) Fry, Lynette (Dan Ohaire) Lake, James Miner, Janette (Mark) Kahler, Paulette (Brett) Boutin, Camette Miner. Also, 14 grandkids and five great-grandkids.
In respect of John's wishes, a memorial service will not be held. We do not think he would object to a gathering of friends and family sometime next summer.
We are forever proud to be JOHN MINER'S FAMILY (shout intended). If you don't believe that, come have a beer with us sometime, perhaps next summer.