ARGYLE — On Sunday, hundreds of candles were lit in honor of four members of a local family at a candlelight vigil held at Argyle United Methodist Church.
More than 400 residents, family and friends showed up to mourn the deaths of Michael Miller, 47, his wife LeAnn, 48, and their children Zoey, 12, and Miles, 7, who were killed in a two-vehicle accident in northwestern New Mexico.
Michael Miller was driving southbound on U.S. Highway 550, returning to Texas from a trip to Colorado, when their van was struck head-on by a pickup.
The driver of the pickup became fatigued and crossed the center line of the highway, according to New Mexico State Police. All four family members died instantly, while the pickup driver was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.
Michael and LeAnn Miller are survived by two other children from previous marriages.
The Rev. Chris Schoolcraft said the Millers were special to the community, and “we’re going to hold this candlelighting as a symbol of love, of hope, of light everlasting.”
“They were valued and loved leaders,” said Telena Wright, superintendent for Argyle schools.
Miller and his wife owned a recruiting firm, and their children were set to start school Aug. 25 in Argyle. The family was also active in the community. LeAnn Miller volunteered at her children’s schools as part of the PTA and served as a room mother. Zoey was a member of the Girl Scouts, and Miles and his father participated in Cub Scouts.
“I probably knew them the least,” said Mark Lange, den leader of the Cub Scouts where Miles and and his father participated, “but it’s my honor to call the Millers my friends. I just hope I’m fortunate enough to have this many people show up when I pass.”
Ron Veit, Argyle Intermediate School counselor, also spoke during the ceremony. He said he met Michael Miller six years ago when his other daughter, Macy, who was not with the family at the time of the accident, was in sixth grade.
“He struck me as a very caring and giving father,” Veit said. “It’s not easy to explain, but it was an accident that took a wonderful and amazing family from us.”
Veit told the audience that each year he asks the kids to complete a “dream project.” It’s a simple project that requires kids to write what they want to be when they grow up on an index card. Before attending the vigil, Veit looked in the box where he kept this year’s dream projects and found Zoey’s card.
It read, “I want to be a teacher.”
CHRISTIAN McPHATE can be reached at 940-566-6878.