Ronald William “Ron” Miller Sr.

Ronald William “Ron” Miller Sr.

Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Death 9 Feb 2019 (aged 85)
Napa, Napa County, California, USA
Burial Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Memorial ID 196734972 · View Source
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RONALD WILLIAM MILLER, 85 of Napa Valley, California passed away on Saturday, February 9, 2019. He was born on Monday, April 17, 1933 in Los Angeles, California.

Ron was an American businessman and professional American football player. He was president and CEO of The Walt Disney Company from 1978 to 1984 and was president of the board of directors of the Walt Disney Family Museum.

His parents were John William Miller (1905-1986) and Stella Virginia Bennett Miller (1912-1982).

He was the son-in-law of Walt Disney, (Walter Elias Disney) (1901-1966).

Ron was the beloved husband of Diane Marie Disney Miller and the father of Tamara Scheer, Patrick D. Miller, Jennifer Miller-Goff, Christopher D. MIller, Walter Elias Disney Miller, Joanna Miller and Ronald Miller.

Ron's grandchildren are Annabelle Rey, Nicholas Runeare, Ryan Scheer, Danielle Durham, Sam Goff, Lily Goff, Charlotte Goff, Sebastian Runeare, Haley Scheer, Reilly Miller, Madeline Goff, William Miller, and Elias Miller; and great-grandchildren Stella Durham, Finley Scheer, and Evelyn and Mason Goff.

At age 21, Ron, a member of the University of Southern California football team, was introduced to 20-year-old Diane Marie Disney on a blind date. They were married in Santa Barbara, California on Sunday, May 9, 1954 in Trinity Episcopal Church.

In an interview with Peter Martin in 1956, Diane Disney Miller tells the story of the day she and Ron married: “It was really funny. We talked about getting married just sort of casually like any anybody does when they are going together for any period of time. Mother and Dad had never approved or never particularly liked anybody that I had been serious about. They seemed to love Ron for some strange reason. They hadn’t seen much of him, maybe that’s why they liked him. Ron didn’t like to hang around here much. One night, I was waiting for Ron to pick me up and Mother and Dad said to me very casually, ‘Diane if you feel that want to get married, you can do it if you want to. We feel you’re ready to and Ron’s a nice guy. We think this might be it for you. It would be a shame to wait, maybe you two would never get together again.’ I practically fell through the floor. So unexpected, so unlike both of them. Daddy, anytime we would mention getting married always got very sentimental about it, strongly advised us to never get married, until we were 25. This was a complete reversal to everything he’d ever said up to that point. I was just about twenty. Ron was facing the dread of the army. He thought he would be drafted and be away for two years and didn’t know what might happen then. We might never see each other again. Daddy seemed to think that Ron was the guy and if we waited too long we might lose each other. So I told Ron and he looked at me with this funny look as if, ‘My God, I’m trapped!’ And that was that. The next time he came to the house for dinner for the first time I believe, it was several days after that, Mother and Dad walked into the room and said, ‘We hear you want to get married!’

“Daddy did want a wedding with all the sentimental things that belonged to a wedding. After all, he has two daughters and that’s something every father looks forward to with his daughters. He had envisioned leading me down a long-flowered aisle and giving me, his radiant daughter, away at a beautiful formal wedding. The way we wanted it was a small wedding. So we had a small wedding at a very sweet little church in Santa Barbara. The wedding couldn’t have been any better. Daddy naturally led me down the aisle and stood with me. At an Episcopal ceremony, he stands with you until the minister says, ‘Who gives this woman to be married?’ and says, ‘Your mother and I do.’ And I heard this sob behind me, before it came Daddy’s turn to say his part, I heard this sob and I turned around and Daddy was standing back there, tears running down his cheeks. I squeezed his hand and he gave me soulful look.

“Ron was giggling through the ceremony and I think we were both sort of nervous. You either cry or you giggle. So we were giggling. After the ceremony he kissed me so quickly that he picked me off my feet and threw me down. He dragged me out of the church so fast but as we left, we walked by Daddy, he was standing there with a look in his face, very determined to be a sad face. Daddy has to be sentimental, he loves to be. I think it’s wonderful that he does, makes him so darling. He really felt very deeply. But at the reception he was his old gay self. Daddy was on his tiptoes for the photographers because Ron’s so tall. We had a lovely buffet supper and afterwards the champagne was flowing and everybody was very happy.

“Ever since we’ve been married, Daddy’s done everything he could to make things easier for us. It’s been wonderful. The only thing we’ve ever been able to do to repay him is to give him his grandchildren. Probably all that we really ever can do that’s tangible.”

Ron served in the Army and then played professional football for the Los Angeles Rams before his father-in-law recruited him to work at The Walt Disney Studios. There, he ascended from motion picture and television production roles to CEO of what is now The Walt Disney Company.

Ron first started working for Walt as part of the original Disneyland team, where he was employee number six. After Ron officially joined The Walt Disney Company, Walt sponsored his membership in the Screen Director’s Guild. Ron’s first job in this capacity was serving as second assistant director on Old Yeller (1957). Eventually, as CEO, Ron pushed the Company to expand and explore, creating Walt Disney Home Video, Touchstone Pictures, and The Disney Channel.

Ron, Diane, and Diane’s mother, Lillian Disney, established Silverado Vineyards in 1981, four years after they purchased the property. This place, near the small town of Yountville, California, eventually became Ron and Diane’s permanent residence. Ron and Diane were strong advocates for various environmental efforts relating to the business of wine making, and in helping to restore area riverbanks and even creek beds.They advocated for initiating solar power

Ron supported Diane’s pursuit in documenting the life and accomplishments of her father, from producing the documentary film Walt: The Man Behind the Myth (2001) to establishing The Walt Disney Family Museum in the Presidio of San Francisco in 2009.

Ron was a passionate outdoorsman. Alpine skiing, hunting, fly-fishing, and golf were lifelong pursuits. He was an experienced horseman with a cattle ranch near Montrose, Colorado.

Ron and Diane were generous philanthropists, supporting many causes, including classical music and ballet. Along with Lillian Disney, Ron and Diane were avid supporters of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.

Donations may be made to the memorial fund that The Walt Disney Family Museum has established in honor of Ron and Diane Disney Miller. Donations will support the museum's ongoing education efforts, about which Ron was passionate. Please visit our donation page to contribute to the memorial fund; donations and cards can also be sent to the museum and family at The Walt Disney Family Museum, ATTN: Director's Office; 104 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94129.

This tribute and memorial to Ron Miller is composed and edited by brothers Charles Elias Disney, and Daniel H. Disney, first cousins of Diane Disney Miller. Ron was such an extraordinary gentleman and we have produced this tribute in honor of his life and out of respect to his beloved family. And on a personal note, Ron Miller was one of the kindest and most generous individuals we have ever known!

Periodic updates will recur.

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  • Maintained by: Charles Elias Disney
  • Originally Created by: the Chronicler
  • Added: 9 Feb 2019
  • Find a Grave Memorial 196734972
  • Charles Elias Disney
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Ronald William “Ron” Miller Sr. (17 Apr 1933–9 Feb 2019), Find a Grave Memorial no. 196734972, citing Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Charles Elias Disney (contributor 48074688) .