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Diedrich (Dick) Miller

June 15, 1939 - May 12, 2021




When we came to Manitoba from Mexico, with Mom and Dad, we were just a young family. Anne was a baby.  John was not born yet.  Diedrich was the oldest at 13 years of age.  I was 7. Diedrich told us that when he was still in Mexico, he had been herding some cattle and then a lion came to see him and the cattle and then walked away again. Diedrich, Bill and I hunted with sling-shots and other things in Mexico.  Bill hit a “Roadrunner” with his slingshot and we brought it home. I guess it was just stunned because it regained consciousness and ran away.   I also remember the three of us waiting for rabbit that had dug a hole next to the cribbing of the well.  When it appeared, Bill swung at it with a hammer and hit his knee. We arrived here – spring – “likely” in 1952. One of my Mom’s aunts took us in for a little while.  Then we moved into an old log cabin with two rooms and a dirt floor.  We lived there for a few years during which time we went to school at “Mason”, this was a two and half mile walk – downhill in the morning and uphill after school.   We called it the steep hill, about ¼ mile long from bottom to top.  These were the hills south of Morden called the Pembina Hills.  Dad and Mom had obtained 3 or 4 cows during that time.  We also had some Bantam chickens.  One time some people came in the yard to take pictures.  As a young family, we boys were always wearing “Bib” overalls – that was the norm.  After a while Dad found a better place for us to live.  This was a two storey stone house 1 ½ miles north and down a long hill.  Now we were in a different school district “Glen Cross”.    We three older boys herded the cows all the way on foot from the log cabin to the new house.  There was a nice barn and good pasture and water.  During the time that we lived there Diedrich said he saw a UFO in the field just north of there.  We made many new friends there.  Diedrich loved sketching, drawing birds, coloring them as close to their true colors as possible.  For a couple of years he would sketch and paint the different birds as they migrated back to Canada each spring.  The Teacher and students were quite fascinated by his ability to do this.   After 2 or 3 years we moved back to the Mason school district, where Dad had a house moved on to it “Homesteading”.  We also had a barn, and some cows there.  By this time, Diedrich was 16 or 17 years of age.  He became interested in cars.  He would often carve cars from a small block of wood.  Those were all models from the years 1955-58.  A few of these went to a Car Dealership in Morden.   When he bought cars, he was able to fix them up so he could drive them.  He like small cars.  Once he bought a very unique car, also rare.  It was a BMW “Isetta”.   He worked in various places – first for farmers in the neighbourhood, one place was where he was driving a caterpillar to work the fields.  He told John that when he drove over a certain area of the field, that the ground was shaking and it sounded hollow underneath.  He said there were American missile silos buried there.  It was close to the American border.  This info is from John.  Anne wanted me to include some of her memories of Diedrich.  We always called him by his full name.  Also this way it sounds the same in German and in English.  Anne told me a story that when she and Nettie were young and Diedrich was still at home, a choir leader from Glen Cross Church, which was just over 1 mile away, said he wanted them to come to choir practice and sing in the choir.  So they agreed.  Anne said that unfortunately the car did not start very well or run for long and so they had to push the car most of the way.   But Diedrich stayed to wait for them and got them home safe.  John said he remembers helping Diedrich buy a Ford convertible which was the car he had when he and Sara were dating.  George has information on how and where Diedrich started to make carvings.  Our second cousin, who is about Diedrich’s age had told George that she and Diedrich were at a river bank in Mexico when they started making little birds and animals in the mud.  When Debbie and I were in Osoyoos, BC we went to see Rosie for a visit and your whole family came and Tim and Diedrich were there too. When we arrived we saw him in the front yard looking for something in the sand.  It reminded me of a passage in the Bible “New Testament” where Jesus stooped down to write in the sand.  Diedrich Miller was the oldest of seven children.  His parents were Diedrich and Catherina Miller, who were born in southern Manitoba.  They moved to Mexico along with their parents when they were children.  They were part of a large group who went to Mexico because the Manitoba Public School Education’s policies (language) and maybe other reasons too.  So our parents, although they were born in Canada, grew up and got married in Mexico.  Grandpa, who may have lived in the Netherlands build a large windmill where he lived.  I remember this windmill because when I was probably 5 or 6 years old, I turned on the tap which allowed water to run out and irrigate the garden.  How can I forget the spanking I got for that?  Water was scarce.  The windmill was a water pump which filled a large berm or tank that held the water from underground.  Next in age to Diedrich was Bill or William and then I, Ben, then a child name Tina that passed away at 1 yr. old – perhaps crib death. Then was Nettie, George, Anne and John.  John was born here.  Diedrich was never rude or mean.  He made friends easily.  He was usually smiling, laughing and making jokes.  When we were in Osoyoos, he told me he walked around the block today – then he displayed by walking around a small block of 2×4 on the ground.  He pointed to a nearby cat and said that cat looks so sad, they called her Sourpuss because she likes vinegar.

Lots of Memories to last a lifetime.

I hope everyone who reads this will get a sense of the love and appreciation we all have for our dear brother and his lovely family.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you all in this our time of sorrow.


Ben & Debbie Miller




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