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1947 James M. Miller 2023

James M. Miller

August 25, 1947 — December 30, 2023

Jefferson, South Dakota

James Marion Miller 


James Marion Miller, 76, passed away on December 30, 2023, at his favorite place on earth, the “Miller Cabin” on the Missouri River near Jefferson, SD. Jim was born to Marion and Ella Mae (Presuhn) Miller in LeMars, Iowa on August 25, 1947.


Jim grew up and attended school in Remsen, Iowa. He was part of the first, seventeen-member, class to graduate from the newly combined Remsen-Union school district. Jim graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sociology and Psychology from the University of South Dakota (USD) in Vermillion. 


He originally met his love, Sandra (Peters), at a dance in Paullina, IA and they dated for a short time. Years later Jim reemerged with a mustache. She agreed to a date on one condition – he had to shave.  Needless to say, he got his girl. They began their life together on January 24, 1970 and the mustache returned! While both worked on their college degrees at USD in the early seventies, Jim and Sandi welcomed their daughter Kimberly. After Jim graduated and Sandi continued at USD, they moved to Sioux City and welcomed their son Ryan. In 1974, Jim and Sandi moved to South Sioux City, NE, where they raised their family and lived until 2000 when they built their dream house in Wynstone development in Jefferson, SD.


Jim spent a successful forty-seven-year career in the insurance industry working in various leadership positions including Manager of the Joe Morten Agency. Jim curated a substantial portfolio through his incredible work ethic and his unmatched dedication to his customers. He was known as a trustworthy and ethical businessman who cared about doing what was in the best interest of those he served. It was through these characteristics that Jim was respected and recognized as a mentor and leader in the industry. He retired in 2016.


Throughout his career Jim also dedicated substantial time in service to the community. He was an active member of the Jaycees, served as a member of the South Sioux City School Board for nearly 20 years, and he was an inaugural board member of Heartland Counseling Services where he served for nearly 30 years. In addition, he served on various other nonprofit boards, Wynstone HOA, and was a supporter of Pheasants Forever and Ducks Unlimited.


When their kids were young, Jim and Sandi enjoyed many family trips to various National Parks and their love for traveling continued to destinations in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Hawaii, Mexico, and Alaska until they purchased their second home in Fort Meyers, Florida, where they enjoyed escaping the Iowa winters. Jim also participated in a semi-annual fishing trip to Lake Oahe in South Dakota with a group of good friends – you could never be sure if they were going to catch more fish or more of a buzz when they were there! But since 1979, there was no better place for Jim than the Miller Cabin on the South Dakota side of the Missouri River where he’d spend most of the summer and still found his way up there the rest of the year to make sure the birds and squirrels had food. It was his special place that he shared with family and friends. It’s where beachfront fires, boat and jet-ski trips up and down river, barbeques, fireworks, whippoorwills, other birds, squirrels, and hours on the deck watching the river flow were experienced.


Jim was a dedicated husband, father, and grandfather.  He loved his wife for nearly 54 years, he carried a great deal of pride for Kim and Ryan and the life and families they have created, and he adored each of his granddaughters beyond words.  He was one of the good ones and will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.


Jim will be remembered by his wife, Sandi, his daughter Kim (Dana) Neal of Lawton, IA, his son Ryan (Renée) Miller of Pleasant Hill, IA, and his four beautiful granddaughters, Sarah (Dalton) Bush of Kansas City, KS, Ashley Neal of Sioux City, IA, Madison Neal attending college in Brookings, SD, and Emerson Miller of Pleasant Hill, IA. His sisters, Marilyn (Marv) Ekeren of Yankton, SD, Judith (Phil) Letsche of Marcus, IA, and Caryn Barry of Marcus. Sisters-in-law, Ruth (Steve) Recker of Paullina, IA, and Jean Peters of Spirit Lake, IA.


He was preceded in death by his parents, parents-in-law Johnnie and Jeanette Peters, brothers-in-law Mike Barry, Bob Peters, and Dave Peters, infant granddaughter Sam Neal, and infant twin grandsons Cooper and Carter Miller.


A Celebration of Life will be planned at a later date. Cremation services are being facilitated by Christy-Smith Funeral Homes in Sioux City, IA. Memorials may be directed to Heartland Counseling Services in South Sioux City, NE.


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James M. Miller, please visit our flower store.


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