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Thom Miller

Author Thom Miller was born in Berkeley, California, the first of the ten children of James E. Miller Jr, OD, and Loretta Miller. His family moved to Exeter when he was four, where his dad practiced optometry until he died in 1983. Thom’s mother thought he showed promise in English and wanted him to attend high school where he could get an excellent education in literature and writing. He went to Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose as a boarder and lived on campus for all four years. 

Joining the US Army in 1966, Thom did four tours in Vietnam with MACV, 22ndARVN Div.

Thom met and married Kelly Chamberlin in 1970. He enrolled in the College of the Sequoias in Visalia, California, majoring in pre-med, but transferred to Los Angeles College of Optometry when his first son was born. Still, Thom had yet to discover what he wanted to do career-wise. Thom and Kelly moved their family to Fresno to start and run an insulation company and then he became a lighting contractor. Finally, in 1995, the couple went into business with their family and bought Bullard Uniforms in Fresno. Thom and Kelly managed it.

The Miller family grew to six boys and one girl, and according to Thom, “They’re all amazing,” as well as their twenty-one grandchildren. “We live for them.”

After growing the business manifold, they expanded and contracted it until they sold it in 2023 after twenty-eight years. “We had a system that seemed to work, and we are very proud of how it turned out,” Thom says.

However, in 2006, Thom faced a life-altering event: he drowned in a rafting accident in the Kings River, leaving him with scarred and diminished lungs and other physical issues. That forced him to adapt and find new ways to contribute. Despite the physical challenges, he persevered and learned to assist Kelly from home. His recovery was a testament to his resilience, and Thom could continue contributing to their family and business in a different capacity.

Now married for fifty-four years, Thom and Kelly enjoy a full quiver of family, and now that they’re “retired geezers,” they can dote on them more!

Loretta Miller couldn’t have known what Thom would be doing after retirement when she sent her son to that prep school, but she saw his writing talent. Today, Thom writes regularly—primarily stories from his life and other true tales he feels need to be told.

Watch for Thom’s book, King’s River Drowning, in early to mid-2025.

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Works by Thom Miller

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King's River Drowning (Working Title)

It was 2006 when Fresno, California resident Thom Miller went whitewater rafting with five of his six sons, a couple of their friends, and one of his brothers up in the King’s River, which flows through the Kings Canyon National Park and the Sequoia and Sierra National Forests. The raft he was in capsized, and Thom was swept into freezing water where after fighting to surface, he eventually inhaled water into his empty lungs. He was immediately gone. Amazingly, the other rafters, including his mortified sons, were able to catch his body as it went downstream. They did CPR on him for twenty-two minutes before my heart restarted. Then the real battle began. Taken by a Highway Patrol helicopter to UMC’s level one trauma center, Thom was treated for almost four weeks before being released from the hospital. Even then, his body, especially his lungs, were all but destroyed. His recovery was long and hard. But this is the story of what happened during those twenty-two minutes—what Thom saw, heard, and felt “on the other side.” Now in his late seventies, Thom takes you, the reader, with him on this unimaginable journey. Armed with a mission that he feels can only be from God, Thom’s story will certainly get you thinking. Can people die and come back? What is the lesson in Thom’s death? Can the fear of death be overcome? Thom has a lot to say about this. King’s River Drowning will be on Amazon and in bookstores in the Spring of 2025.

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