James (Jim) Preston Miller Jr.

James (Jim) Preston Miller Jr. left this earth to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Tuesday, Sept. 26, after a battle with bladder cancer. Jim was born at home on the family farm in Billings, Oklahoma, on Sept. 23, 1937, to James Preston Miller and Pearlean (Pearl) Cordell Miller.

Jim’s father was killed by lightning while working the farm on Jim’s fifth birthday. Shortly afterward, Pearl, sister Beverly and Jim left Oklahoma and traveled to California, where Pearl found work. Eventually, the trio found their way to Wyoming, where Pearl met and married Floyd Ellis Milleson.

Together they had a son, Floyd Ellis Milleson Jr. (Butch).

Jim attended grade school in LaBarge, and middle and high schools in Big Piney, where he graduated in 1955.

Shortly after graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. Jim served as a radioman on the USS Durant and was honorably discharged following four years of service.

After returning to Wyoming, Jim got a job with Fish Construction and N&O Roustabouts during the construction of the El Paso Natural Gas Company natural gas pipeline system, after which he became employed by El Paso, which eventually became Northwest Pipeline Corporation, with ownership by The Williams Companies.

In 1960, Jim and a buddy drove from Big Piney to Kemmerer, stopping at John and Jeanette Kovach’s Willow Springs tavern, where his future wife, Verone Kovach, was working.

It was love at first sight! Shortly after Verone graduated high school, they eloped and were married in Driggs, Idaho.

Together, Jim and Verone had a son, Preston; and two daughters, Pamiel and Primalee.

Jim’s work took the family from Big Piney to Vernal, Utah, and finally to Farmington, New Mexico, where Jim worked as a right-of-way agent until he retired from The Williams Companies after 42 years.

Following retirement, Jim and Verone left New Mexico for Vallecito, Colorado, then moved to Yuma, Arizona, for the warmer climate.

Jim had a very unsuccessful back surgery in Salt Lake City in 2019. His health went downhill from there, and he was diagnosed with bladder cancer in early 2023.

Jim is preceded in death by his parents, James and Pearl; sister, Beverly Bott (Demar); stepbrother, Floyd Milleson Jr. (Brenda); and stepfather, Floyd Milleson.

He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Verone; son, Preston (Andrea); daughters, Pamiel Johnson (Jimmy) and Primalee Howlett (Jody); grandchildren, Cory Rutland (Lindsay), Chatelle Bowman (Jimmie), Randy Harmon (Jenna), and Marissa and Marshall Miller; great-grandchildren, Ellie and Ethan Bowman, Autumn Harmon, and Harper and Leo Rutland; plus, several in-laws, nephews, nieces and close friends.

Jim also wanted to mention to the Yuma community how wonderful the Hospice Angels have been during his last days. They are all truly a blessing, specifically, Bridget, David, Tyler, Eunice, Juan, Lupe, Stacy and Randall — full of love and kindness!