Archie J. Miller is Lisa's grandfather. He lived to be 101. A milestone in it's own right. Raised during the great depression he knew the value of money and how much hard work it was to get it. Born in the small town of Brocket ND., he grew up there and started his first business. He then moved to the Fergus Falls MN. area in the late 1950's where he built a house by the lake, and started several other businesses. Never able to sit still, always on the move.
The store was fairly large and packed with anything and everything he could find. It had clothing, housewares, hardware, lumber, furniture, carpet and the list could go on and on.
Lisa and I got married the next year. With his blessings no doubt.
Being in the business he was in, he would get samples from so many different companies trying to sell him their wares. He would show up at Christmas with his Cadillac stuffed full of presents. Our first Christmas is one that I will never forget. Opening of the gifts took hours and there were only the 6 of us, because of the sheer volume of gifts to open and opening them one at a time.
Lisa has worked for Archie for many years. Eventually running his clothing department.
I eventually worked for Archie myself. Starting in the hardware department and then moving up to being a department head of furniture and carpet. Archie would take us with him to Las Vegas every year for the giant buying show. He taught us the ins and outs of buying for his store. He said always ask for terms. "What's that?" He said "Have them write the bill out to be paid in full in 30 days and then give us a 15% discount". That was the way he worked. Always pay cash. Never finance anything. That was how he was able to compete with the big guys across the street. He was very shrewed. He would invite us out after the shows and we would always find him at the slots waiting for us. He loved the slot machines.
Archie loved western art. He loved it so much that he had a art gallery built next door so that he could share it with everyone. It was called "Archie's West Art Gallery and Gift Shop" run by his daughter Beverly.
He would have his art collection displayed and he never charged anyone admission to view it.
He was very proud of his grandkids and great grandkids.
Also his wife, Virginia.
We have seen two deaths up close and personal now in the last 7 months. Lisa's father who passed away after an accident last fall. That was 19 days in the hospital and we thought that was long. We have been watching Archie slowly going down hill for many, many years now. We would leave after our visits thinking that that was our last goodbyes. Only to come home again and there he was stubborn and determined to carry on. I never thought he would make it to be 100, but he did. Then I thought he won't make it till Christmas, but he did. Then to 101.
The last few months were the hardest. We saw him go from walking to the wheelchair. From the wheelchair to being bedridden. Eventually solid food was out of the question and it quickly started to go downhill then. What helped him live for so long was the wonderful care he was receiving at home from a couple of angels named Elizabeth and Beverly. They gave up so much of their lives to him and it takes such a special person to do that.
They were there till the very end. Archie passed away April 16th, 2018, at 1 o'clock in the afternoon. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day.