Our community recently lost another land information pioneer, Mr. Allen H. Miller. Al passed away on November 11th at Agrace HospiceCare in the Madison area. Just a few weeks ago I reported on the death of Dr. D. David Moyer.
I didn’t know Al exceptionally well, but I would often tease both him and David Moyer by asking if I could sit at the “old guys” table during lunches at Wisconsin Land Information Association (WLIA) events. He always chuckled and took it in good stride. I remember distinctly one time where I was making chit-chat with Al, and he mentioned attending the U.S. Naval Academy. I told him I didn’t realize he was in the Navy. “I wasn’t,” he responded, “I’m a Marine.” I went on to ask more about his service, not knowing the timeframe. “I was in during the late 60’s,” eventually came his response. Wow, I immediately knew what that meant. He openly shared a few stories about his 15 months in Vietnam. I was particularly struck when he said, “I lost a lot of good guys during my time (as an officer).” The fact he said “I lost” was sobering; he clearly felt a deep responsibility to get everyone home safely.
I share this personal anecdote about Al’s time serving our country, because I think his comment “I lost” really speaks volumes to his later career. He was committed to making things better for those around him. Al was a key contributor to the so-called “Larsen Report” which many would agree served as the impetus for the creation of the Wisconsin Land Information Program (WLIP). Al served as the very first President of WLIA, and that organization’s most prestigious award bears his name: “The Allen H. Miller Sustained Service Award.”
The staff and students of the State Cartographer’s Office wish the best to Al’s family during this very difficult time. Information on funeral services may be found on the Gunderson Website.