Hello Eagles!

August 21, 2017. Photo by my son, August Miller. (I later processed the image with the Prisma App)

On why I am not attending my 50 year West Valley High School ReUnion

This web page was prepared for West Valley High School 1967 graduates. West Valley is in Millwood Washington, in the Spokane Valley.

Since I will be unable to attend the 50th reunion, I built this special page and made a video to play after dinner, along with the other speakers. I've also printed a card to be given out at the dinner and picnic next day, with the address of this web page.

Video Message to my Classmates on September 16, 2017 8¾ minutes

Here is the Script for my YouTube video, in case I mumbled anything: [LINK].

Dean Rowbotham, 1923-2008

Photo provided by Gayle Rowbotham

I recently wrote this note to Joy Rowbotham, widow of Dean Rowbotham, our Band Leader, who died at age 84 years.


I'm sure that you know I was in the West Valley HS Band. I valued the Concert Band the most. Dean was SO dedicated to the band. He respected us all, and his intensity kept our attention. Great Memories. (...)

ONE year, WVHS was First in the Starlight Parade. Dean put all the sousaphones in the first row! (4 or 5?) I'll never forget how he had the band at Attention for ~10+ minutes before the parade started. So Cool. People looked on in Amazement.

God bless his heart and memory. Bless you too!
W/Love John Miller / Portland

Postscript: I got a long letter back from Joy with some photos of Dean and her email address so we can keep in touch. One of the memories I didn't write about was a rare time when Dean was unable to cover the band period. The principal, Wally Mills came to the band room, but didn't know how to lead the band in rehearsal of course, so he just told us to do what we normally did. What a joke. I think various band members tried to get the band to play one thing or another from their seats, but it was pandemonium. I couldn't stand it any longer and went down to the floor and tried my hand at directing. I think it was The Impossible Dream (Man of La Mancha) or something easy like that, with some good dynamics. It was awesome. After the bell rang, I went to put my tuba mouthpiece in the office, and Mr Mills said he was really impressed with what I had done, how I had taken the lead. I felt good about it, and will never forget that moment.

Coach Al Snyder (1929-2007)

Photo from obituary

I recently wrote this note to Mrs Snyder, widow of Al Snyder.

Mrs Snyder,

I graduated 50 years ago from WVHS! Mr Snyder was my PE teacher. One day, I thoughtlessly called a big and awkward student a name that other guys used to make fun of him - Gladys. Al called me out on that — Three more laps, Miller!

After my laps, in the locker room, I made friends with Rick from then on. I don't know what became of Rick, but I am sure what I learned that day got passed on to my own son, who has great empathy toward others. I've wanted you to know (Since 2007!)

John Miller / Portland

Postscript: Mrs Snyder, aka Flurry, is happily re-married, and now goes by Flurry Davis. She wrote back to say that she and her family were moved by my letter. She said that others had called to let her know that I had posted my letter to her on Facebook for WV alums to read, and they shared what others had been saying on Facebook.

Math & Science Teachers

Mr Ventris Physics text book problem. See the article that appeared in the June 1967 West Valley REPORT CARD newsletter.

Ray LaLonde (7th Grade Math) Mr LaLonde turned his class on to Mathematical Games, a column in Scientific American. I was hooked. As an adult, I corresponded with the author, Martin Gardner, for about 20 years. I have attended two Gathering for Gardner conferences in Atlanta. [G4G]

Ken Moore (Math classes) When Gonzaga University wanted to share their new computer system, they offered a class for HS students. Mr Moore encouraged several of us to apply. Dennis DeFelice & I, from WV, took their Saturday morning class for 10 weeks (Dennis?). I recall Dennis being obsessed that we be first to finish the assignment!

Howard Damon (Geometry, Chemistry) serious, excellent teacher.

Richard Clark (Algebra) fun, positive attitude, motivator.

The exposure to math, games, and computers was a strong influence in my CAREER.

Other Memories

  • School Nurse - Told me I would fail the Armed Services hearing test.
  • Vern Budig - Horrible poisoning of his rubber tree plant. Big convocation.
  • Lawrence Morgan - Leo's studio photographer. Clearly, it was OK to be silly!

After WVHS

College and Work
1967 - 1970 Gonzaga University (3 years) mathematics, concert band & other ensembles!
1970 - 1972 WSU Pullman (2 years) computer science only.
1972 - Moved to Portland!
1972 - 1997 Went to work for L&C College (25 years)
1997 - 2010 Metro (13 years) System Architect.  Lost job to recession.
2011 - Retired.  Watch my video above for story about this period.

1989 - Married Cynthia Stowell!  One son, August (Gus), born 1990.


I went on a road trip to Alaska from Spokane with my folks in 1970. Anchorage, Kenai, Denali, Fairbanks..

I took a year off from L&C College split between Timberline Lodge (8 months) and Portland City Engineer's office (4 mo). [ [TIMBERLINE LINK]]

Trip to France 2010. Upcoming trip to Iceland in October, 2017.


  • I am an independent iOS developer with 5 apps in the AppStore [Time Haven Media]
  • I occasionally do stained glass artworks [Foiled Glass] [Fused Glass]
  • I occasionally work on my [New World Model] and Jarrett Walker's [Human Transit]
  • I occasionally find a good problem for recreational math
  • I am very slow at trying new software and languages. So, instead I am a...
  • Full Time Internet Troll — See my [Home Page] for social media links


It often seems like I am full time volunteer on different things: [Collins View Neighborhood Assn], [Friends of River View Natural Area], [CYCLE OREGON], [Mark Bosworth Fund], Travel Portland, Gathering for Gardner, etc... and I've let those distractions keep me from updating my Apps! Not Good?


These are Crazy Times - I've also allowed myself to be distracted by:
  • Bundys (et.al) trying to take over our Public Lands [LINK]
  • Mountain Bikers trying to take over protected natural areas and wilderness [LINK]
  • Electoral College disaster [LINK]

Some Videos

These first two were from the Gathering for Gardner (conference) in 2014. I had grown my hair out to look like Scottish mathematician C. Dudley Langford (supposedly).

Langford's Problem, Remixed (2014, 12 minutes)

The Music of the Polygons (PolygonJazz) (2014, 6 minutes)

PolygonJazz Demo (Jan 2014, 1½ minutes)

Geom-e-Tree in Action (Only my voice and hand) (2011, 5 minutes)

GovHub: Open Source and Open Government Collaboration (2010, 6 min) Work-Related, but Silly!

More Links!

Ignore this: [NULL LINK]

Looking for more fun? Crosseyed and Painless, David Byrne, Talking Heads. (Video and lyrics)