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William J. “Bill” Miller “Billy Ray” (1959-2023)

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William J. “Bill” Miller “Billy Ray,” 63, died Jan. 15, 2023, at MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, after an almost three-year courageous battle with cancer. He was born March 28, 1959, in Hoisington, Kan., the son of Robert J. and Elizabeth “June” (Seymour) Miller. Bill graduated in 1978 from Claflin High School. He received his associates degree from Barton County Community College and then attended the University of Kansas.

On April 17, 1982, he married Tami DeBusk in Claflin, Kan. To them were born three amazing children, Colby, Catlin and Candra. Together they raised their family in Claflin, Bill’s hometown, where he proudly helped run the family business, Miller’s of Claflin. Truly a family-run business for over 120 years, he along with his siblings and fifth generation helped to expand the business to Hays, Salina and Great Bend with the Ashley HomeStores, Mattress Solutions and Furniture Clearance Center Brands. He was also a partner in RJM Oil Company, C&K Oil Company and Miller Financing. His children inherited his love of business and work ethic.

Bill was a member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, the Knights of Columbus Council No. 1500, and was the fire chief of the Sandhill Rural Fire District. Always a promoter of his hometown, he left his fingerprint on many aspects of the community. In his free time, he enjoyed spending time taking care of his farm, riding on the jeep trails and teaching his grandchildren life lessons. His greatest summer passion was Lake Wilson, spending time with the people he loved on his houseboat, The Billy Ray.

He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Tami Miller of the home; three children, Colby Miller and wife Dr. Nicole Miller of Claflin, Catlin Miller of Wichita and Candra Pilas and husband Emanuel of Gypsum, Colo.; four beloved grandchildren, Ava, Ardyn, Jett and Cam Miller; mother, June Miller of Claflin; nine siblings, Becky Cates of Haslet, Texas, Beth Woydziak of Morrison, Colo., Belinda Connell of Claflin, Barbara Musgrove and husband Jim of Claflin, Brad Miller and wife Cathy of Claflin, Brian Miller and wife Joan of Claflin, Brock Miller and wife Angie of Eudora, Bobette Kirmer and husband Marvin of Claflin, and Bridget Letourneau and husband Troy of Claflin; 33 nieces and nephews, 67 great-nieces and -nephews, and four great-great nieces and -nephews.

He was preceded in death by his father, Robert J. Miller, and brothers-in-law, Ray Cates, Alan Woydziak and Mike Connell and nephew Travis Cates.

Family will greet friends Sunday from 3-4 p.m. with Celebration of Life and Rosary beginning at 4 p.m. at the church.

Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, celebrated by Father Terrance Klein. Burial will follow in Claflin Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to Immaculate Conception Church Renovation Fund and the Claflin Kid’s Discovery Center in care of Nicholson-Ricke Funeral Home, P.O. Box 146, Hoisington, KS 67544.