SAVANNA—John Owen Miller, 74, passed away Friday, Aug. 21, 2020, in Savanna.
John was born Sept. 19, 1945, in Evansville, Ind., to Paul and Doris Miller.
Over his three quarters of a century, John lived several lives and made more friends than he could ever fit in a pocketbook or his flip phone. He raised his daughters in the suburbs of Chicago while working as a paper salesman. He owned a grapefruit farm in Jupiter, Fla., where he lived amongst the stars. He returned to Illinois and after spending years in Lisle, he found his people in Savanna, a town of just about 3,000.
He was able to live out his lifelong dream of owning and operating his own bar in Savanna, where along the Mighty Mississippi he opened McCool’s, an ode to his mother’s maiden name. With multiple John Millers around, he became known as McCool to all and didn’t know a stranger in the small town. Although he eventually closed McCool’s, he stayed in Savanna for the rest of his life.
John loved the Chicago Cubs and lived long enough to see them win the one World Series of his lifetime. He loved to play billiards and even in his old age had a shot that would put any player to shame. He loved to sit around a table and play cards with his family, especially a passed-down variation of rummy that they always referred to as Aunt Helen, though there was no Aunt Helen in the family.
He loved NASCAR, regardless if he was watching it trackside with a cooler full of Miller Lite or at home on the couch with the same beer in hand. In the last years of his life, his drinks of choice were a glass of brandy or a can of Mr. Pibb at his favorite Savanna haunt, Manny’s, amongst his friends.
In his last days, he was cared for by the staff at Big Meadows Nursing Home, a group of kind souls for which his family is very grateful.
John is survived by his daughters, Teri (Brian) Carlson of Chicago and Lisa Auzenne of Atlanta, Ga.; five grandchildren, Zachary, Olivia and Ethan Auzenne and Kasey and Kylie Carlson; and his brother, Joseph (Wilma) Miller.
Due to the pandemic, there is no service scheduled. A memorial will be held at a later date.