Saturday, November 22, 2014


Lucas Baker (left) volunteered to work as security at the fundraiser in memory of Mark MIller at the VFW in Elkhart on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012. Friends and family of Miller threw this benefit so that all of the proceeds could go to Miller's children. (Truth Photo By Evey Wilson) (AP)

Bill Long blows balloons for children at the fundraiser in memory of Mark MIller at the VFW in Elkhart on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012. Long is volunteering his time. All of the proceeds are going to Miller's children. (Truth Photo By Evey Wilson) (AP)

Karla Parker (back), Mark MIller's niece, styles Maria Alcala's hair at the fundraiser in memory of Mark MIller at the VFW in Elkhart on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012. Parker is volunteering her time. All of the proceeds are going to Miller's children. (Truth Photo By Evey Wilson) (AP)

Rayan Rios, 9, (left) and Ivyan Ortega, 13, play table tennis at the fundraiser in memory of Mark MIller at the VFW in Elkhart on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012. All of the proceeds from the benfit are going to Miller's children. (Truth Photo By Evey Wilson) (AP)

Friends and family of Mark Miller threw a fundraiser in memory of him at the VFW in Elkhart on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012. All of the proceeds are going to Miller's children. (Truth Photo By Evey Wilson) (AP)

Haley Wing (right) paints Jessica Noel's face at the fundraiser in memory of Mark MIller at the VFW in Elkhart on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012. Both girls are volunteering their time to help. All of the proceeds are going to Miller's children. (Truth Photo By Evey Wilson) (AP)

Tony Parker, Mark Miller's brother, wears a commemorative shirt at the fundraiser in memory of Mark MIller at the VFW in Elkhart on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012. Jessica Beachy went through a similar tragedy decided to help the Millers by designing this shirt. All of the proceeds are going to Miller's children. (Truth Photo By Evey Wilson) (AP)

Joshua Rebel Hays tattoos a white tiger on Tammie Ballge at the fundraiser in memory of Mark MIller at the VFW in Elkhart on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012. Hays is a tattoo artist, like Miller, and wanted to help out. All of the proceeds are going to Miller's children. (Truth Photo By Evey Wilson) (AP)

Dru Lester watches his son, Wyatt Lester, eat at the fundraiser in memory of Mark MIller at the VFW in Elkhart on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012. Lester's fiance is Mark Miller's niece. (Truth Photo By Evey Wilson) (AP)
Friends, family remember Dunlap man, host fundraiser
Posted on Nov. 25, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.

ELKHART — It was a bittersweet atmosphere at the Veteran of Foreign Wars Post 88 of Elkhart Saturday, as friends and family of Mark Miller celebrated his life.

Several family members and friends gathered to host the fundraiser, in which all proceeds would go to Miller’s children. They brought bands, held raffles and invited tattoo artists who did their work and raised money for the same cause.

Tracy Cohee, a close friend to the family, said the atmosphere was generally positive with a good number of people in attendance who knew Miller or had heard of him and wanted to support the cause.

“After a period of time some people will forget,” she said. “We thought this (fundraiser) is it for Mark. We wanted to have one last good gift for his children.”

Despite the celebration, there was an overbearing sentiment of sadness. Cohee said it was difficult not to think or miss Miller on Thanksgiving.

“Out first Thanksgiving without him was hard, and Christmas will be harder,” she said. “Christmas was his favorite holiday. He loved watching his kids unwrap his presents.”

Miller, 44, of Dunlap, was reported missing Sept. 7; he was last seen at his Dunlap tattoo shop. Two weeks later, his body was found in a barrel, floating in the St. Joseph River about 10 feet from the south bank, just west of the Six Span Bridge.

The Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department has not arrested anyone, and continues to investigate the case. On Oct. 23, police served a search warrant at a residence in Bristol in connection to the case, but no one was arrested.

Various family members expressed their hope to get some sort of an answer to all their questions surrounding the homicide.

“We’re not over it; I feel like they took something very important from me,” said Karla Parker, Miller’s niece.

April Gardner, Miller’s sister, said she hopes to hear some good news related to the case, so that the family gets some relief.

“I have my good days and I have my bad days, but it hurts the most when I think about it,” she said. “I just wish they solved the case and we all knew who did it.”