Donald Miller ’53
Don Miller passed away peacefully in Bellevue, Washington on February 6 at age 88, surrounded by his loving children, grandchildren and wife of 67 years. He was born in Chicago, Illinois on October 30, 1931, the only child of C. Edgar and Erma Miller. The family of three later settled in Michigan where Don attended North Muskegon High School. Athletically inclined, Don played varsity basketball, football and ran track. For over 30 years, his high school record of high hurdles was never touched. Don attended Hope College in Holland, Michigan where he continued to play football and later met his future bride, Maxine Mulder. The couple married in 1953 and settled in Holland to start a life together. In 1955, Don was diagnosed with polio and was hospitalized for several months. After some rehabilitation, he regained strength and resumed his normal life.
Don began his 56-year career in the crane industry working at Shaw-Box as an estimator of engineered cranes. After his start in Holland, Don’s work took the family to Avon Lake, OH and then in 1963, to Rowayton, Connecticut where he was offered the position of Regional Sales Manager in New York. In 1974, Don was given an opportunity to move to Seattle, where he became President of Ederer Cranes. The family settled in Bellevue and Don and Maxine have made it their community ever since.
As President, CEO and eventually owner of Ederer, Don expanded the company internationally taking business to all corners of the globe. An innovator of crane design, Ederer was a contractor for many projects including the NASA Space Shuttle, Seattle docks, Todd Shipyards, the Yan Tan Dam in China, and the retractable roof for Safeco Field (now T-Mobile Park.) In addition, Don was President of the Washington State China Relations Council, the Crane Manufacturer’s Association, and other business councils. A mentor to many, Don was regularly sought out as an international source for doing business in China.
Because of Don and Maxine’s strong feelings that young people needed to experience the world, the couple started the Miller-Mulder Scholarship at Hope College. For over twenty years, they have helped fund study abroad programs for students living overseas.
After retirement, Don had more time to enjoy his other passions in life: family, friends, boating, bicycling and travel. His love of boats brought him back to the water where he designed and built a beach house where his family and friends enjoyed many happy times.
Don is survived by his wife Maxine, son Christopher (Deirdre), son Jeffrey (Jane), daughter Sue-Ellen (James), daughter Katrina, daughter Janna (Doug), ten grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.