Joe Miller Passes
I just received a call from Evie Miller telling me that our friend and comrade, loveable Joe Miller passed away at around 10 p.m. Friday, the 20th of June.
Joe had been suffering from dementia for the past couple of years but his death was the result of a stroke he suffered about 2 weeks ago.
Joe has been a Charlie Russell Rider for over 20 years and if we ever took a vote for "Mr. Nice Guy", the winner would be Joe Miller hands down.
For seven days a week, Monday through Sunday, Joe was a fixture at his El Chorro Restaurant for at least 40 years. I can tell you that things have never been the same for the Phoenix area riders since Joe sold his restaurant a few years ago.
Even today we keep searching for a replacement for our frequent get-togethers and we've all decided that without Joe it's not going to happen.
So our friend Joe joins the ranks of our empty saddle group and though I am not a religious man, I do know that he will be in good company and will be greeted with open arms.
A funeral mass will be held at the Franciscan Renewal Center, 5802 E. Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley at 2:30pm, Monday, July 7, 2014 followed by a Celebration of a Life Well Lived at El Chorro, 5550 E. Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley, AZ. ( In lieu of flowers, please honor Joe Miller by donating to: Scottsdale Boys & Girls Club or Phoenix 100 Club )www.greenacresmortuary.net
Joe Miller passed away late evening, June 20, 2014 at his home in Paradise Valley, Arizona at the age of 83. At his side as always, was his wife of 60 years, Evelyn, family and dear friends. Joe's " Wonderful Life" began February 5, 1931 in Seattle, Washington born to his parents Frank G. Miller and Alice M. Miller. (nee Dann) He went to school at St. Edwards Catholic School in Seattle. Joe ventured to Scottsdale, Arizona in 1951 and was hired as a bartender by Marc and Jan Gruber, the original owners of El Chorro Lodge. This is where Joe Miller's life truly began. He met Evelyn, who was hired as a cocktail waitress, they fell in love and were married in 1954. In 1974 after working as managers, they purchased El Chorro Lodge. Joe and Evie Miller became the icons of this Landmark known throughout the Valley, serving the well- known as well as the unknown. Everyone was welcome at El Chorro Lodge. Joe's personality, charm & wit made you feel you were special. Every customer and employee was treated like family. Generations of families made it a tradition to go to El Chorro Lodge. Joe believed in Good Food, Good Times. As pillars in the restaurant community, Joe and Evie won the 1982 Ivy Award , the James Beard Award for Excellence, the Diamond Award and were rated 5 Star Mobil. Joe would always start his day..." This is Living" and that he did, the restaurant life was in his heart and soul. Everyone he greeted felt like a "best friend". And boy, did he make friends! El Chorro Lodge was not Joe's only passion - GOLF. He was an avid golfer, playing in several Phoenix Open Tournaments. He also enjoyed fishing the streams for salmon, riding the open range on horseback, tossing a horseshoe, traveling the world, sailing, playing a good game of gin and being a fan of ASU football. His tailgate parties were the best! Joe's personality never stopped. He was very active in many organizations and the community: Scottsdale Boys & Girls Club, Verde Vaqueros, Charlie Russell Riders, National Restaurant Association, Phoenix 100 Club, Ducks Unlimited and Paradise Valley Country Club. In 2009, Joe & Evelyn sold El Chorro Lodge and retired, still loving and living life's adventures. Joe Miller's heart was Bigger than his Smile. He touched a lot of people and their lives shall forever be enlightened! In addition to his wife, Evelyn, Joe is survived by his sister Barbara Miller, his brother Frank G. Miller, Jr., his aunts Marybelle Carlson and Margaret Eastmark, his uncle Walter Dann and several nieces. " You're a Good Man Joe Miller !" "We are gonna MISS YOU!" A funeral mass will be held at the Franciscan Renewal Center, 5802 E. Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley at 2:30pm, Monday, July 7, 2014 followed by a Celebration of a Life Well Lived at El Chorro, 5550 E. Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley, AZ. ( In lieu of flowers, please honor Joe Miller by donating to: Scottsdale Boys & Girls Club or Phoenix 100 Club )www.greenacresmortuary.net