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Obituary, Malcolm "Jay" Miller, 74


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Malcolm "Jay" Miller

Malcolm "Jay" Miller, 74, died July 1, 2015, in Petersburg, Alaska.

He was born Sept. 16, 1940, in Haines, Alaska, the son of Edith Marie Young and Malcolm Boyd Miller. His father was from Louisiana and was stationed in the U.S. Army at Ft. Seward in Haines, where he met Edith, who was attending school there but was from Kasaan originally.

Jay was of the Haida Tribe of Kasaan and the Raven-Double Fin Killerwhale Clan.

He was very proud of his cultural background as well as of being adopted into the Tlingit Tribe under the Eagle Nest House group. He was given the name Kaan Keek' by his adopted sister, Elizabeth Basco. Great-great-grandparents were Charles and Mary Baronovich. Charles was a Marquis of Austria and his grandmother was the daughter of Chief Skowl of Kasaan.

Jay was raised in Haines by his grandmother, Lela Pryer, after both of his parents died at an early age.

Jay graduated from Haines High School in 1959. He was a member of the Haines High Glacier Bears basketball team. He lived in Sitka from 1972 to 1977.

He married Mary Katasse in Juneau on Nov. 21, 2001.

Jay was mostly known as a commercial fisherman of 30-plus years, fishing out of Sitka and Haines. He was most noted as a gillnetter fishing on his boat, the Judy Kay, in Lynn Canal until he retired from fishing in the late 1990s.

He also was a carpenter and drywall worker.

His artwork can be seen around the state. He was most recently noted as a Blue Ribbon Haida art engraver, and he owned the business Dawn Eagle Engraving. He did this special artwork in partnership with his wife Mary Katasse-Miller, who helped inspire him to make masterpieces. His jewelry was one of a kind, and had that certain sparkle that people always recognized.

He also was known for his big, loud laugh. "He laughed like he meant it."

Jay was a member of Sitka Tribe of Alaska, Tlingit and Haida, the Petersburg Presbyterian Church, and Kavilco Inc.

He was preceded in death by both of his parents, Malcolm and Edith; grandparents Felix and Lydia Young; stepmother, Lillian Sheppard; uncle and aunt, Milford and Lola Miller; wife Maria (Ackerman) Miller; aunts, Agnes Swanson and Erma Lawrence; and son, Eli Biggs.

He is survived by his wife, Mary Katasse-Miller, of Petersburg; son Chuck (Dianna) Miller of Sitka, TraceeLynn (Leonard) Heumiller of Montrose, S.D.; Elizabeth (Aaron) Stroud of Salem, S.D.; Jim Sackett Jr. of Bethel; Jim (Sherry) Matthews of Kenai; Jeff (Victoria) Ackerman of Anchorage, Tanis S'eiltin of Bellingham, Wash.; Ione Ackerman of Juneau; Tim (April) Ackerman Sr. of Haines, Sonny Grant of Anchorage; and Faleene (Bert) Worrell of Hallsville, Texas; and grandchildren Jay, Michael, Edward, Naomi, CJ, Earl, Sharla, Eric, Marrissa, Madison, Layla, Aaron and Evan, and great-grandchildren were Alina and Mary.

Pallbearers are Fred Haltiner, Brad Taylor, Jim Birch, Jim Ackerman, Jim Sackett Jr., Dr. Schnellbacher, Harry Jimmy, Dave Galanin, Bill Shayen, Leonard Heumiller, Herman Davis Sr., Wayne Alex, Aaron Stroud, Michael Conner, Wayne Price and David Light.

Services for Malcolm James "Jay" Miller, master Haida engraver and Northwest Coast wood carver, were held Friday, July 10, at the Presbyterian Church in Petersburg. Pastor Robert Carter officiated.


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