Robert Orville Miller passed away peacefully on the evening of September 7th, 2023 after graciously hosting his friends and family at his bedside. He was 73.
Robert was born to Melvin Milton and Iona West Miller on August 28th, 1950. The middle child of three boys, Robert was a kind and bright child. Raised on the Agua Poquita Ranch in Duval County, Texas, Robert attended Benavides Primary School followed by Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, Tennessee along with his brother Mel and fellow classmates and distinguished alumni, Gregg and Duane Allman.
On a cold wet winter day in December of 1965, while on Christmas break at the ranch, Robert and his brother Mel were involved in a catastrophic accident on HWY 339, just a few miles north of their home. Mel sustained numerous cuts and bruises; however, Robert’s injuries ran deeper than the flesh. The traumatic brain injury he sustained left doctors wondering if he would survive, and if so, what capabilities he would be left with upon awakening after 3 months in a coma.
By the Grace of God, he did survive, and was able to rejoin society with most of his previous faculties. Though he was burdened with schizoaffective disorder, the love and compassion provided by his family and his friends carried him through his high school years and his early twenties.
Throughout the 1970’s, Robert came to be known as a bit of a wild man. A vagabond, not to be tamed, Robert was known to hitchhike the entire state. From Benavides to Corpus Christi, or Dallas to Houston, Milton and Iona were often unsure from where they might receive their next call or postcard from Robert. His wild hair, bohemian threads, and long fingernails may have looked intimidating; however, he was still the same intelligent and kind person he had always been.
In 1980, his childhood friend, Arnold Carillo, called and told him “There’s someone I would like you to meet.” Arnold’s friend, Mary Murray, had recently moved home to Corpus Christi with her young son and Arnold thought they might be a good fit. First impressions were mixed as his appearance and peculiarities left Mary questioning Arnold’s matchmaking skills, however, after a few dates she was able to see past the nonconformist façade and appreciate the kind soul hidden beneath the surface.
It was not long thereafter that he would propose marriage, to which Mary accepted with exceptions. If she were to take him as a husband, he would be required to cut his hair, trim his beard and fingernails, acquiesce to her fashion choices, maintain steady employment, and join the Catholic faith to which he accepted without (much) protest.
Instantly Robert became a husband, a father to Mary’s 7-year-old son, Murray Rhodes, and co-owner of Royal Cleaners, a multi-generational dry-cleaning business in Corpus Christi. His new role as a family man brought him much more joy and happiness than the unbridled freedom of his former life. In June of 1982 the couple welcomed a son, Michael, and the family of four was complete.
For the next 25 years, Robert and Mary continued building a life in Corpus Christi managing the cleaners as well as his ranching and oil and gas interests throughout Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and New Mexico. With his disability, raising two boys and coping with all of his new responsibilities was not always easy for Robert, but his love for his family and Catholic faith carried him through the most difficult of times. Robert and Mary were devout Catholics and were engaged parishioners at Most Precious Blood, St. Pius X, and St. Thomas More parishes.
The most difficult of challenges came on July 30th, 2006 when the love of his life was called home to her Lord and Savior at the age of 57. The following decade witnessed a gentle decline in his overall happiness and wellbeing. A good bit of his light was diminished when he lost Mary, however, this was not to be the last chapter in his joyous existence on Earth.
On February 12th, 2016, Michael and his wife Amanda welcomed Mary Charlotte Miller and he was tasked with being the absolute best grampa he could possibly be. From the moment he first laid eyes on her, he was smitten. The kind and gentle heart she inherited from him manifested in the patient manner in which she interacted with her grampa. His bedside was a shrine to her existence and his light never shone brighter than in her presence. He survived for as long as he possibly could in anticipation of her visits.
Robert leaves behind a legacy of love for all he knew along the way, with his last words spoken being “I love you too.”
Robert is preceded in death by his parents, Milton and Iona, brother Mel, wife Mary, and numerous beloved pets including his all-time favorite boxer, Thea.
He is survived by a brother James Miller (Melanie) of Benavides, his sons Murray Rhodes of Boerne, Michael Miller (Amanda) of Corpus Christi, granddaughters Kensey and Ella McCain and his best friend/granddaughter, Mary Charlotte Miller.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to his caretakers Oscar and Toni Limas who provided a comfortable and loving home for him in the last year of his life.
Visitation will be held at Seaside Funeral Home Chapel on Wednesday, September 13th at 6:00pm followed by a recitation of the Holy Rosary at 7:00pm. A Funeral Mass will be held on Thursday, September 14th at 10:00am at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Corpus Christi. Interment to follow at Seaside Memorial Park.
Having the distinguished honor to serve as pallbearers will be Christopher Miller, Jorge Rivera, Oscar Limas, Sam Tisdale, Isaac Clubb, and Ricardo Salas.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his honor to Corpus Christi Metro Ministries, St. Pius X Catholic Church, or the charity of your choosing.