Danny Ray Miller, 50, of Altus died Wednesday, October 18th, 2000, in Oklahoma City of complications from burn injuries suffered in a propane explosion at his rural Altus home May 23.
Danny was born August 25, 1950 to Tom and Zelma Miller in Knox City, Texas. He moved to Altus as a young boy, where he attended Altus schools and received an associate's degree from Western Oklahoma State College. He earned a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Cameron University.
He spent two tours from 1969 to 1971 with the Special Forces unit of the United States Army, where he served as a scout observer and door gunner on helicopters. He was honored with several medals during his military service including a Purple Heart. When he retired from Vietnam, he served in the Pershing Missle Unit at Fort Sill. He left the Army in 1976 to pursue a job in law enforcement.
Danny joined the Altus Police Department as a patrolman in 1978, and was promoted to master patrolman in 1985. He took tremendous pride in his duties as a police officer. His former colleagues remember he especially enjoyed investigative work, serving warrants, working the street and as an officer who would "bend over backwards to help people".
When the APD reinstated its K-9 program in 1988, he became one of Altus' first officers to have a German Shepherd K-9 partner in the new program.
He and "Olden" were recognized as one of the top K-9/dog handler teams in the state and nation.
The pair was featured on the television show "Top Cops" in 1991, which detailed a 1989 incident when Olden jumped between Danny and an armed fugitive to take a bullet meant for Miller. As a result of that incident, the Oklahoma Legislature passed a bill that made it a felony crime to shoot a K-9 Officer.
Danny's law enforcement career was cut short when he was forced to retire in 1991 as a result of old wounds from Vietnam. The Altus police force also chose to retire Olden to Miller at that time, and Danny cared for Olden until the K-9's death of cancer several years later. He went on to breed paint horses and work cattle.
Danny garnered state and regional attention when he attempted to solo horseback ride from Altus to Canada on his beloved horse "Red." He was derailed twice in his attempt, once by teenagers who spooked his horses, and another time when he and the horses were injured falling into a ravine in Colorado.
His hobbies included fishing, horseback riding and he was a published poet.
Danny was preceded in death by his parents, a brother Bobby Zane Miller; and a stepson Christopher Mark Miller.
He is survived by three daughters, Misti Castro and son-in-law, Arnold of Altus, Oklahoma, Coral "C.A' Dorman and son-in-law David, of Largo, Florida, and Andrea Miller of Coral Gables, Florida; a brother, Tommy Miller and sister-in-law Sheri of Altus; five grandchildren, Maria, Christopher, Rhaegan, Kasy and Brianna; many nieces, nephews and great nieces ad great nephews; close friends, Larry and Sharon Puckett, John and Ethel Cofield, Carol Cole and many others.
Memorial Services are scheduled for Monday, October 23, 2000 at 2:00 PM at Lowell Tims Chapel With Rev. Joe Tovar and Pat Carrigan officiating. Services are under the direction of Lowell Tims Funeral Home.
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