Monday, January 05, 2009


OCTOBER 21, 1936-DECEMBER 30, 2008

Donn was born October 21, 1936 in Wichita, Kansas, to Fern and Wilkie Miller. He was the fifth of the couple’s six children. He wed Lorene Sausser on December 23, 1962 and the couple had one daughter, Karen Elizabeth. He studied business at Wichita State University and Emporia State University, but dedicated his life-long career to his passion for music.

As a jazz musician, he formed the Donn Miller Trio, which played in Topeka and Kansas City in the 1960’s and in Denver in the 1970’s. He also played solo piano, and lent his talents to many jazz groups and combos throughout his life. At the same time, Donn developed his skills in piano tuning and repair, reaching the level of Registered Piano Technician (RPT) and Certified Tuning Examiner (CTE) within the Piano Technicians Guild. After working for Jenkins Music Company in Kansas City, he moved to Denver in 1967 and opened his own shop, The Piano Spotlight. In 1980, Donn became the tuner for the music college at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and later held a similar position for Denver Public Schools. In his 20-year service to DPS, he mentored other tuners and continued to tune for private clients.

Donn retired in 2004 and moved to Kansas City to be closer to his daughter and her family, where he was a loving “Daddad” to his granddaughter, Lili Caroline. He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Wilkie and Bill; and Sisters Irma and Marilyn. Survivors include his wife, of Leawood; daughter Karen Plummer and her husband Jonathan Plummer of Kansas City; granddaughter, Lili, 5; Brother James David of Aiken, S.C.; and many cousins, nieces, nephews and in-laws.

In accordance with his wishes, Donn will be cremated. The family requests memorial donations be made to the Piano Technicians Guild Foundation, the Country Club Congregational United Church of Christ, or a charity of your choice.

The above clip is Donn playing a song he composed to celebrate the birth of my cousin Karen.

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