• Date Of Birth: March 1, 1925
  • Date Of Death: March 2, 2019
  • Resting Place: Fairbanks
  • City: Anchorage
  • State: Alaska

Alaska’s third governor, Keith Harvey Miller, born March 1, 1925, died Saturday, March 2, of prostate cancer in Anchorage. He succeeded to the Alaska governorship on Jan. 29, 1969, as secretary of state (now lieutenant governor) under Walter Hickel, who had been named secretary of the interior by President Richard Nixon.

He served nearly two years. He presided over the state’s first Prudhoe Bay oil and gas lease sale, which brought in $900 million. Not long after, he proposed a state investment fund for the state’s oil royalties, which Governor Jay Hammond later turned into today’s Alaska Permanent Fund. Gov. Miller took a special interest in the smaller communities in Alaska. He established the Seward Skill Center (now called the Alaska Vocational Technical Center), established the Pioneers’ Home in Palmer and a new fish hatchery in Petersburg. A native of Seattle, Gov. Miller was interested in Alaska from an early age. As a youth, he had dreamed of coming to the territory where his father had graduated from Anchorage High School and his grandfather, Arthur Henry Miller, had been appointed superintendent of Native schools in the Southwestern District. After service in the Army Air Corps during World War II, Gov. Miller took a Canadian ferry in 1946 as far as Juneau, where he helped tear down a building before chartering a plane to Skagway and riding the White Pass and Yukon railroad to Whitehorse, Yukon, before flying home. In the summers of 1948 and 1949, while attending college on the GI Bill, he worked as a deckhand on an F.E.

Company gold dredge in Fairbanks. Then, in 1957, he jumped at a chance to come to Anchorage with his wife, Diana, to take a job with the Internal Revenue Service. When he learned homestead land was still available, he quit his job and moved to Talkeetna to build a 160-acre parcel. He was convinced by a Republican acquaintance to run for office in 1962 and won a seat in the state House. In 1966, Walter Hickel, running for governor, asked him to run as his secretary of state (now lieutenant governor). In 1972, he ran for the state Senate from Anchorage and won a four-year term. In 1977, Gov. Hammond named Miller to a seat on the Alaska Transportation Commission and subsequently to be its chair.

He served on the commission until it was abolished. He was preceded in death by his loving wife, Jean Cuffel Miller; son-in-law, David Slater; and stepgrandsons, Darren and Matthew Slater; by his parents, Sarah Margaret Harvey Miller and Hopkins Keith Miller; brothers, Robert, Arthur and Donald; and stepsons, Bill and Bob Cuffel. He is survived by stepchildren David Cuffel (Sumara) of Anchorage, Carol Slater of Fairbanks, Don Cuffel (Amy) of Tacoma, Deidre Oaks (Martin) of Anchorage and many stepgrandchildren and greatgrandchildren.