The gymnasium at Harlem High School was packed to standing-room only as hundreds gathered in a celebration of life of the former mayor and county commissioner of the community, in a ceremony designed by Commissioner Vic Miller himself.
Miller died of complications from diabetes Aug. 18 in Great Falls.
The ceremony included Native American ceremonies, eulogies, full military honors — and an hour-long performance of music ranging from jazz to rock to country in honor of the lifetime musician mostly played by the Freeman Harper Band — with drummers filling in for Miller throughout the more-than-an-hour-long performance
The audience members all rose to their feet as Barry Walden led Freeman Harper Band in Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me,” with the audience clapping in time.
They remained on their feet as Mike Talks Different and Willlie Grey of Wild Horse Singers performed a Native American honor song, and stayed at attention as Leon Main performed a rendition of Jimmie Hendrix’s version of “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Raymond Gone acted as master of ceremonies during the event. Miller’s eulogists were his fellow musician U.S. Sen. Jon Tester of Big Sandy and Miller’s longtime friend Richard Mohar, while former Hill County Commissioner and current Havre City Clerk Doug Kaercher read a letter on behalf of Yellowstone County Commissioner Bill Kennedy.
Several people cited Miller’s common comment, which he included at the end of the message on his voice mail: “And remember, I’m here to serve.”
(See more in Monday's Havre Daily News.)