In Memory

Don Miller

Remember whenever we played UTHS in basketball and they had a mascot?  He was called "Pete the Panther" and was actually a student in the UTHS Class of 1962, Don Miller.  Many in our class knew Don because he a nice and outgoing guy.  He passed away recently.  This is his obituary.

Donald R. Miller, 70, of Moline, died Tuesday, April 21, 2015, at Genesis Medical Center, Silvis.

A celebration of his life will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 26, at the River House Bar & Grill, 1510 River Drive, Moline. Feel free to drop by and share a story. Per his wishes, cremation rites have been accorded. Esterdahl Mortuary & Crematory, 6601 38th Ave., Moline, is assisting the family with arrangements.
The family is asking that no flowers be sent and only that memorial gifts be designated for heart research at Mayo Clinic. Memorials can be made online at or mailed to Department of Development, Mayo Clinic, 200 1st St. S.W., Rochester, MN 55905. Please also indicate that the memorial is in memory of Donald R. Miller. The clinic may also be reached by phone for donations from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 507-284-2264.
Donald was born on July 19, 1944, in Moline, the son of Roy and Ruth Jordan Miller. He was the second Pete the Panther mascot at United Township High School and went on to be a cheerleader during his time at SIU. Later, he started the first QC chapter for SIU Alumni. He married Rae J. Baskett on July 15, 1978, in Rock Island.
Donald enjoyed biking and traveling. He was very artistically inclined and had a way about him that gave people a calming effect.
Donald worked as an elementary school teacher for the Rock Island School District, retiring in 2004. He was a very positive influence on many of his former students and continued to be involved throughout their lives. He was an extremely effective teacher and highly respected by his students. He knew no strangers and was just simply a good guy.
Survivors include his loving wife, Rae J. Miller; children, Seth (Natalie) Miller, Allen, Texas, Courtney (Ryan) Minch, Moline; two grandsons, Ian and Caden Miller; brothers, Terry (T.J.) Miller, East Moline, Ray (Jane) Miller, Moline; six granddogs and one grandcat.
He was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Barbara Kight.
Memories may be shared online by visiting

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04/27/15 09:50 AM #1    

Catherine Oberlaender (Hansen) (Blando)

Thank you for posting this.  Don was a wonderful person - and I was so sorry to learn of his passing.  Anyone who knew Donnie respected and liked him very much.  My favorite memory was a trip to Ft. Lauderdale in the late 60s -- Donnie and four "girls" (one was me) -- spent a week there (for spring break).  We all  shared  a tightly packed car for the trip... and a seedy and small (but ocean front) motel room with four beds -- Donnie slept on the floor on an air mattress.  Ever the gentleman, Donnie was our chaperone and escort throughout.  Lots of laughter and much fun...

04/27/15 01:42 PM #2    

Gay B Thompson (Vencill)

I have been in Moline this past week-end to attend Don's celebration of life
I met him at Black Hawk and we remained very dear friends since then. His wife Rae and he have been living in Texas during the winter- just 5 miles from us--to spend time with son and grand children. My husband and I have enjoyed many dinners and events with them and they usually spent Christmas Eve with us at our home. Don was a very special guy.
He had hundreds of friends and so many were at the River House yesterday. A beautiful tribute to a wonderful man. Not only was he Pete the Panther, he was the first male cheerleader at SIU which he attended after Blackhawk. A very fun loving guy who never met a stranger.

04/28/15 01:23 AM #3    

Susanne V Spencer (DeBruyckere)

Donnie was the nicest guy! Susan Wiedenhoeft DeGrande and I enjoyed his friendship during our time at Black Hawk! He was a lot of fun and friendly to everyone!


04/28/15 07:43 PM #4    

Patricia L Applegate (Horn)

i knew donnie too.  he was such a sweet guy.  My seinor year i dated Craig Athorp who was the drummer for the band called the Tracers. and he went to UTHS.  i also married him.  we divorced  and is a long story he was craig athorp but when we got married in germany the germans discovered he had never been legally adopted and in fact was Dwight Craig Horn.  Thus my last name now is Horn.  Anyway i digress, Donnie was such a great guy , knew him well and so sad he is gone.  I too celebrate his life. We will always all remember Donnie as one of the best.

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