Wagoner community mourns the loss of one of their own Wednesday night

WAGONER, Okla. — The Wagoner County community is mourning the loss of one of their own.

Former Deputy Police Chief Clyde Miller died of brain cancer early Wednesday morning. He was 61.

Miller retired in July and had just begun to enjoy retirement after serving the community for nearly 40 years.

A benefit dinner and silent auction at the Civic Center in Wagoner were already on the calendar to support Clyde Miller in his battle against brain cancer.

Now the proceeds from the event on Sunday, Jan. 30, will be used to help pay for medical bills and funeral expenses.

On Wednesday FOX23 sat down with Wagoner Police Chief Bob Haley to learn more about the former deputy police chief’s legacy here in Wagoner.

“It’s uncommon to see an officer stay 40 years in law enforcement,” Haley said. “It’s even more uncommon to see it in one agency.”

Chief Haley describes former Deputy Chief Clyde Miller as the one they could set their watch by. Arriving before his shift started every day, and rarely calling out sick.

Haley describes what he’s missed the most since Miller retired after more than 39 years of service back in July.

“Just him coming in and that smile and the way he was always here,” he said.

In addition to overseeing officers on patrol, Haley says Miller became a fixture at high school football and basketball games, where he provided security.

He says Miller was also known for always having stuffed animals at the ready for kids.

“Not everybody here carries them but he did, absolutely,” Haley said, “that’s just part of what Clyde was about, he was here to take care of the citizens here and he was very proud of that.”

Haley says Miller graduated from high school in Wagoner, and joined the police force back in 1982.

When he retired in July of 2021, Miller had risen to Deputy Police Chief with the rank of Major.

His best friend of 43 years, Lawrence Parks, says Miller was passionate about more than policing.

The husband, devoted dad, and grandfather also loved to hunt and fish. Parks says his friend loved to help out anyone who needed it.

He relayed the story of a neighbor who told him he needed a deck, but didn’t know where he’d get the money.

“Clyde said well, you buy the lumber and I’ll build it,” Parks said.

Parks says they went to the lumber yard to buy the wood, and Miller built him a brand new deck on the back of his house.

“That’s the kind of person Clyde was,” Parks added.

Small business owner Brian Olson is printing up tee shirts that read “Friends don’t let friends fight cancer alone” as a fund raiser for the family of the former Deputy Police Chief.

“We have to take care of each other,” Olson said, “Clyde took care of us and our kids, protected us for 40 years, we have to take care of their family.”

Olson said that’s what small towns are all about.

Miller, who retired in July with the rank of Major at the age of 61, had just started to enjoy retirement when he was diagnosed with brain cancer in October.

Now members of the community, like Brian Olson, are showing their appreciation by selling custom made tee shirts with Clyde’s name on them. And the benefit event, originally planned to help with medical expenses, is still on the calendar.

The city is also giving back, by donating all of the event space at the Civic Center for the benefit chili dinner and silent auction on Sunday, Jan. 30. The event will be held from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m.

Masks are recommended, but not required at the gathering which will be held indoors.