William Rae “Pastor Bill” Miller

Woonsocket, SD

    William Rae “Pastor Bill” Miller, 79, died on Tuesday morning, March 19, 2013. A memorial service was held Friday, March 22, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. at the Basham Funeral Chapel in Woonsocket.
Pastor Bill was born on Sept. 6, 1933 to Mary O. and Harvey H. Miller in Beaver, West “By God” Virginia. He had 10 siblings, five brothers, five sisters and three children. Pastor Bill graduated from Shady Springs High School in Beaver, W.V. in 1951, after which he moved to South Dakota to live with his oldest brother, Howard, and to attend Dakota Wesleyan University (DWU) in Mitchell, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree.
While attending DWU, he met Shirley Ann Cox in 1954, who also was from Mitchell, and who was attending the DWU Nursing Program. Pastor Bill and Shirley married in 1954 and accepted an early church assignment in Presho.
A couple of years later, the couple moved to Hydes, Md., where Pastor Bill continued his early pastoral work and also attended Wesley Theological Seminary at American University in Washington, D.C., where he earned a master’s degree in theology. Interestingly enough, Pastor Bill’s two older brothers, Howard and Marshall, also were ordained United Methodist ministers.
Pastor Bill and his family returned to South Dakota, where he followed God’s call to Howard, and then a few years later to Belle Fourche. In Belle Fourche, Pastor Bill oversaw the design and construction of a brand new building for the then 70-year-old Methodist Church.
In 1965, a few years after the completion of construction in Belle Fourche, Pastor Bill and his family moved to Arlington Heights, Ill., a northwest suburb of Chicago. In Arlington Heights, which already had a large established Methodist Church on the north side of town, the District Superintendent asked Pastor Bill to plant a new United Methodist Church on the south side of town. So dutifully, Pastor Bill knocked on door after door in Arlington Heights and the surrounding community and launched Church of the Incarnation, which had its first services in Dunton Elementary School in 1966. After growing the congregation, Pastor Bill once again oversaw the financing, design and construction of a brand new church building for the then embryonic congregation. Construction of Church of the Incarnation’s new building was completed in 1969, where a thriving United Methodist congregation continues to worship to this day.
In 1970, after 18 years of continual service with the United Methodist Church, Pastor Bill began a career in human resources, first with Skil Corporation in Chicago, Ill. His other professional responsibilities included work, all in human resources, with the former McGraw Edison Company, Sayles-Biltmore Bleacheries in Asheville, N.C., and Heil-Quaker Corporation in Lewisburg, Tenn. Pastor Bill then moved his family to Greenville, S.C., where he was vice president, human resources management, for the Greater Greenville Chamber of Commerce for over 10 years. Throughout his entire time with the Greater Greenville Chamber of Commerce, Pastor Bill often served as a guest pastor in local communities around Greenville.
In 2002, Pastor Bill heard and responded to God’s call to return to the active ministry and served as pastor for United Methodist and Bethany Lutheran of Woonsocket, and Forestburg Lutheran in Forestburg. Pastor Bill retired from active ministry in 2008.
After retiring, Pastor Bill remained in Woonsocket and spent the rest of his life with Mandy Schulz, his dear and special friend, who so lovingly and graciously cared for him right up until the time when God came to take him home.
Pastor Bill is survived by his dearly special friend, Mandy Schulz of Woonsocket; his youngest brother, Thomas Miller of Beaver, W.V.; his three children, Eric Miller of Incline Village, N.V., Anita Miller (Fulghum) Blackwell of Traveler’s Rest, S.C., and DeAnne Miller Grove of Chesapeake, Va.; and his seven grandchildren, RaeLynn Miller (whose first name was inspired by Pastor Bill’s middle name), Davis Miller, Alexandra Fulghum, William Buckley Fulghum (whose first name was inspired by Pastor Bill’s first name), Vowan Blackwell, Claire Blackwell and Jacob Grove.
Pastor Bill’s children, Eric, Anita and DeAnne, are so grateful to Mandy Schulz and her family and to the entire Woonsocket community for loving and caring for their Dad.
While Pastor Bill’s love for West Virginia is well known, he also truly loved South Dakota and its great faces and wide-open spaces!

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