Financial officer, CPA 'never lost his cool'

Kenneth Miller was obsessively meticulous and well-organized, precisely the kind of traits to be expected in a certified public accountant and financial auditor.

Away from the office, Miller was a man who cared deeply about his family, his community and his church, business associate and friend Leslie McCord said Wednesday.

Miller, former chief financial officer of Valley Bank of Nevada, died Friday at Sunrise Medical Center. He was 81.

"He had a keen eye for detail, very detail-oriented, which is good for a CFO," said McCord, now at Bank of America. "I knew him as a friend after he retired. We were fortunate enough to be part of their 50th wedding anniversary. We felt very honored to be part of that milestone, especially since they came to our wedding."

Miller was brought to Las Vegas in 1982 by bankers Parry Thomas and Jerry Mack. He had been chief financial officer for United Tanker Group in New York, owned by Thomas and Mack, since 1968. Before that, he worked for Price Waterhouse in Kansas City, Mo.

Longtime Las Vegas businessman Irwin Kishner originally met Miller through Thomas and worked with him on family trust accounts.

"In all the years I've known him, he was nothing but a gentleman," Kishner said. "He never lost his cool. He always tried to temper any confrontation and tried to accomplish what's in the best interest for everybody. He was not a pacifist, but he tried to bring partners together and give his input and his efforts were always positive."

Miller was born Oct. 18, 1928, in Garden City, Kan. After serving in the Army, he graduated from University of Kansas in 1951.

His wife, Betty, met him in college on a blind date with her sorority sister and Miller's fraternity brother. He was a nice young man from Kansas, she said.

"We kind of hit it off. He went back in the Army again and got called up from the Reserves for the Korean War," Betty Miller recalled. "He asked me to marry him and move to Europe, but I turned him down to stay in college and finish my degree. He came back and looked me up in Kansas City."

They were married in 1954 and had two children. Their son, Jon Miller, lives in Virginia, and daughter, Shari Dunstan, lives in Pennsylvania.

"He was a very loving person," Betty Miller said. "He'd tell me several times a day that he loved me, and I just melted."

Upon his retirement in 1993, Miller traveled with his wife to Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Israel and Great Britain. They sailed around South America. The couple also played a lot of golf until Miller suffered his first stroke seven years ago.

Miller served as president and district governor of the Las Vegas Rotary Club. He was a member of Salvation Army advisory board, served on the Summerlin Medical Center board of governors and was president of the board for the Las Vegas Symphony Orchestra. He was an elder in the Presbyterian church.

Visitation is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Palm Mortuary, 7400 W. Cheyenne Ave. Services will be at 11 a.m. Friday at Mountain View Presbyterian Church, 8601 Del Webb Blvd.