Darrel and Ruth (DeBey) Miller were born 1930 and 1933, respectively, near the Kansas communities of Lebanon and Dispatch. Darrel graduated from Oriole rural grade school, Lebanon High School, Kansas State University, and attended graduate school at Michigan State University. During Army service he served on the staff of Stars and Stripes daily newspaper. Later he held other newspaper jobs in Downs, Osage City, Perkins (Oklahoma), Topeka, and Hutchinson.
Darrel and Ruth bought the Downs News and Times in 1958 and subsequently purchased the Lebanon Times, Cawker City Ledger, and Smith County Pioneer newspapers. Darrel edited and published the Pioneer for more than 32 years. He was a past president of the Kansas Press Association and was a recipient of the association’s Master Editor Award. Darrel was also a past president of the Downs Rotary Club and a Paul Harris Fellow. He served as a member of the Solomon Basin Advisory Committee for 10 years, on the Downs City Council, was a past president of the Downs Historical Society, and a member of the Downs Historical Railroad Foundation. He was also the author of four historical books on the Downs region.
Ruth first attended Green Ridge rural school northwest of Downs before attending school in Downs. She attended college briefly at Oklahoma State University. Ruth worked with her husband Darrel at the Downs News and Times from 1958 until 1972, when she became managing editor of the Downs, Cawker City and Lebanon newspapers for more than 32 years until retiring in 2004. She also operated flowers shops in Downs and Osborne.
Ruth was active in the Downs community and has served as an officer of the Chamber of Commerce and the Parent-Teacher Association. In 2003 Ruth was chosen to receive the Kansas Press Association’s Boyd Community Service Award.
Darrel and Ruth Miller raised three children and were the proud grandparents of seven grandchildren. For several decades they proved to be community leaders in every sense of the term, and Downs and Osborne County prospered all the more for it. After a long life of service Ruth died on February 2, 2013. Darrel followed her in passing on July 24, 2017 at Hays, Kansas. Both rest a well-earned sleep of peace in the Downs Cemetery at Downs, Kansas.