Ernest A. Miller started the E. A. Miller Packing Company in 1935. Not too long after, he added “and Sons,” to the name since his boys, Lynn and Junior, started to work at the company. Lynn, the oldest son of E. A. and Florence Miller was eighteen and Junior, their youngest son was only eight. Florence also played an important role in the business.
Tragically, Ernest A. Miller passed away in 1954, but the company was left in good hands since he had involved his sons so early on in their lives. Really, E. A. had groomed them to take over. While Lynn loved the cattle, Junior liked the administration of the company, so the brothers made for a great team and the company showed spectacular growth attaining more than $600,000 in business that first year.
Following E. A.’s example, Lynn and Junior continued to involve their wives and children in the business. Lynn’s wife, Emma, worked in the company as well as Norma, Junior’s wife. Lynn’s and Junior’s children also got their starts in the business by working at the plant washing hooks and performing many other tough jobs. Lynn and Junior knew that the hard work of their children prepared them for future jobs throughout the company. Then, in 1973, Junior completely took over the operation of E. A. Miller and Sons due to the untimely death of Lynn.
Continuing in the tradition of being a family-run business, Lynn’s sons, Bob, Scott, John, Bruce, and Ted, all worked for the company in positions of administration and sales. John became the President of E. A. Miller Packing Company, then Ted replaced his brother when John moved to Omaha, Nebraska to become the President of ConAgra in 1986. Bob, Scott, and Bruce were in the sales department; Bob worked in the field, Scott served as a salesman in the office, and Bruce was a salesman, but also became the vice president of sales.
Junior’s sons, Kris, Mark, Ernie, and Jim also contributed to the company. Kris and Mark were cattle buyers and traveled to various states to purchase the cattle needed for the plant. Ernie was in the trucking department and the rendering division until his death in 1977. Sadly, Ernie was killed along with six other E. A. Miller employees when the company airplane crashed while returning from a trucking show in California. Jim worked in the slaughtering and trucking divisions. Junior’s daughters, Debra, Donna, and Jan, were all great assistants to Controller John Clay. Additionally, many of Lynn’s and Junior’s children’s spouses have worked for the company.
The passing on of E. A. Miller and Sons to Lynn and Junior, then to their children and spouses, and finally onto their grandchildren, demonstrates that the company is truly a family affair. All of E. A.’s grandchildren have progressed and found success based on what they have learned from working for the company. You can see evidence of this throughout the packing and trucking industries and in the Miller family’s new composting plant and farming and ranching businesses. Furthermore, by providing thousands of jobs over the years and through generous support of the local community, the E. A. Miller Company has played an integral role in our region. The success and vitality of the family of E. A. and Florence Miller and this community pays tribute to the legacy that they started.