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Community mourns after death of Whitetail owner

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX  —  The death of the Whitetail Golf Course co-owner, Scot Miller, has left many in the community feeling a profound sense of loss.

Miller, age 56, died in a crash on I-90/94 near Lake Delton on Saturday, October 20.

According to news reports, Miller was a passenger in a GMC Yukon driven by David Howe, age 60. Other passengers in the vehicle were Thomas Millar, age 62, and Richard Schoenke, age 56.

Millar is a retired agriculture teacher from the Colfax school district.

Howe, Schoenke and Millar were transported to the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison with serious injuries.

The other vehicle involved in the crash was a Volkswagen Golf. Occupants of the Volkswagen were a 23-year-old, a 19 year-old, a two-year-old and the 56-year-old driver. None of the occupants in the Volkswagen were injured.

The crash happened around 3 p.m.

According to a Caring Bridge webpage set up for Millar, the four friends had gone on their annual men’s weekend to Madison where they were attending a Badger game. Scot Miller received a telephone call that his mother was not doing very well, and they decided to leave at halftime and head for home.

Millar was able to draw on a whiteboard that there were two cars in the right lane, and the Yukon in which he was a passenger was in the left lane. The second car on the right pulled into their lane and sideswiped them.

The Yukon went into the median, rolled, and landed in the eastbound lane.

Millar suffered a fractured vertebrae, which did not injure his spinal cord, ten fractured ribs, a tear in his ureter between the kidney and the bladder, a knee injury and a nearly-severed foot.

According to the Caring Bridge webpage, Millar’s foot was completely detached from his leg except for the blood vessels.

Scot and Bobbie Jo Miller were married in March of 2007, and in November of that year, purchased Whitetail Golf Course from Bobbie Jo’s parents, Lyle and Janet Pelke.

Kevin Snyder of Woods Run Forest Products was the honored golfer in the “last putt” ceremony at Whitetail Golf course in the fall of 2017.

Scot Miller “was one of the greatest human beings I’ve ever met. This is like a nightmare,” Snyder said.

“He always had a smile on his face. There wasn’t a person he ever met that he didn’t like,” he said.

“Scot went out of his way to make events fun … Lib and I had our wedding out there, and Scot and Bobbie went out of their way to make sure things went smoothly. They went above and beyond,” Snyder said.

“He will be greatly missed. There are no words,” he said.

Snyder also noted that Scot Miller was a huge supporter of young athletes, especially golf and baseball.

Hall of Fame

Scot Miller, the son Don and Bede Miller, was inducted into the Elk Mound High School Athletic Hall of Fame in April of 2016. He graduated from Elk Mound High School in 1980.

He was All Conference in four sports and Senior Athlete of the Year.

Scot earned 11 varsity letters in his high school years. In football, he was one of the leading rushers in the conference and a defensive back. In basketball, he was a two-time MVP point guard. In track, he led the team in points scored and was the school record holder in hurdles on a team that won the Dunn St. Croix Conference title.

In baseball, Scot was the team’s leading hitter and posted a 24-1 career pitching record on the first Mounder team to advance to the state tournament.

Scot later went on to coach the Elk Mound baseball team to a state championship.

CHRC board

Scot Miller also served on the Board of Directors for the Colfax Health and Rehabilitation Center.

“All of us at Colfax Health and Rehab are deeply saddened by the loss of our board member and friend Scot Miller,” said Jill Gengler, administrator at CHRC.

“His progressive business acumen and deep commitment to improving the community have been a great asset to the company,” she said.

“Scot’s kindness and generosity were contagious and set the tone for meetings and community events.

We’ve lost a great person and his spot on the board will not be easily filled,” Gengler said.

When asked why Miller was chosen to serve on the CHRC Board of Directors, Gengler said, “The board wanted a proven leader. Someone with experience running a successful customer driven business in our community. Scot’s name was always in the conversation. We were drawn to his positive influence in and beyond Colfax. It was an easy choice.”

Tom Millar

Millar spoke to the Colfax Messenger from his hospital bed in Madison on the afternoon of October 28.

He said the doctors are still waiting for the swelling to go down to do more surgery on his foot, and at some point in the next several days, depending on what could be determined between places available, insurance and a variety of other factors, he would most likely be leaving the hospital and moving to another location to wait for the swelling to subside.

According to the Caring Bridge entries, Millar’s doctors had hoped to perform surgery toward the end of the week following the accident but decided surgery was still too risky with so much swelling.

The skin is so tight, Millar said, that if the doctors tried to do surgery now, the skin would split and it would be impossible to suture it together again.

The accident, Millar said, “was nobody’s fault. An accident is an accident.”

“Scot was a good friend and a close friend,” he said.

Although Millar said he is sometimes accused of exaggeration, he said it was not an exaggeration to say that he, Scot Miller and other friends had been making the trip to Madison for a Badger game for 20 years and making an annual event out of it.

Depending upon the year and the particular game, anywhere from four to eight people went on their annual weekend with them, he said.

Scot’s death “is a big loss for Colfax and Elk Mound and for the Menomonie community … he was someone everyone respected,” Millar said.

“You’d show up, and he’d always hold out his hand. You always felt welcomed,” he said.

Millar reiterated the accident “was no one’s fault. We all have to move on and heal.”

Dave Howe was still in the hospital as of Sunday afternoon.

Dick Schoenke was released from the hospital Saturday.

The Colfax Messenger spoke with Tom Millar Sunday afternoon after the Green Bay Packers had started playing.

“Scot would be (watching the Packer game), too, if he was here,” Millar noted.

“He was a good guy,” he said.

Visitation for Scot Miller was held at Elk Mound High School on Friday, October 26. His funeral was held at Elk Mound High School on Saturday, October 27, with Steve Hill, a family friend, officiating.

Inurnment will take place at a later date at the St. Joseph Catholic Church Cemetery in Elk Mound.

According to Scot Miller’s obituary, donations to a future scholarship in memory of Scot would be much appreciated by his family.

Don Miller, Scot’s father, who served as village president in Elk Mound for 14 years, died in August of this year.

According to Don Miller’s obituary, he was a coach, organizer, supporter and financial backer of the baseball program for numerous years and was known by many as Mr. Baseball in Elk Mound. 

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