July 23, 1946 ~ August 7, 2021

Born in: Bryan, Texas
Resided in: College Station, Texas

Ronnie Wayne Miller, a long-time public servant and former Brazos County Sheriff, died Saturday, August 7, 2021, at the age of 75. Ronnie was born to Fred and Emma Miller on July 23, 1946. At a young age, Ronnie developed a mischievous side and was known as the prankster amongst his friends. He spent practically every waking moment outside playing “Cowboys and Indians” with his friends on the street—perhaps a precursor to his career in law enforcement.

Ronnie began his storied, thirty-year law enforcement career at the Bryan Police Department around 1968. While at the Bryan Police Department, Ronnie served as the first undercover narcotics officer on the force. Nine years later, he transferred to the College Station Police Department, where he achieved the rank of Captain over the Criminal Investigations Division before being elected Sheriff of Brazos County in 1985. He served as Sheriff for eight years, after which he worked for the Grimes County Sheriff’s office for five years.

In law enforcement circles, Ronnie had a reputation as a tough, no-nonsense officer—he always got his man. Most famously, he helped bring John Wayne Hearn and Robert “Bob” Black to justice—a story told in the book The Soldier of Fortune Murders and dramatized in the movie When Love Kills: The Seduction of John Hearn. Bob hired Mr. Hearn to murder his ex-wife, Sandra Black, after seeing Mr. Hearn’s ad in the Soldier of Fortune magazine advertising his “mercenary” services. During one well-known exchange between Bob and Ronnie, Bob tried to deflect suspicion by claiming that he had “found the Lord.” Knowing in his gut that Bob was guilty, Ronnie legendarily retorted, “Your soul may belong to the Lord, but your ass belongs to me”—several weeks later, Ronnie arrested Bob and he was later found guilty.

But Ronnie wasn’t only concerned with catching “the bad guy,” he also gave back to his community wherever he could. For example, while he was Sheriff, Ronnie helped establish an innovative “Garden Unit,” where low security inmates grew vegetables on a large field. Working in this program gave the inmates the chance for a sentence revision. The program was so successful that within a few years it produced enough food to support several local prisons and nursing homes, as well as having a positive impact on many inmates. Ronnie also inaugurated the tradition of bringing Christmas joy to the families of the most destitute inmates in his prisons. Every year, Ronnie and other officers would deliver a Christmas tree and presents to the homes of several inmates. “Big” John, Ronnie’s lifelong friend, would come along for the deliveries dressed as Santa Claus.

Another notable moment during his time as Sheriff occurred when President George H. W. Bush came to Texas A&M to deliver that year’s commencement address. As Sheriff, Ronnie was in charge of managing security for the visit. When President Bush got into his limousine to leave, the battery was dead. After several tense moments, Ronnie came to the rescue in his squad car and gave the President a jump—he is probably the only county Sheriff to have had such an honor.

After Ronnie retired from law enforcement, he purchased and managed several apartment buildings in Bryan. He loved taking care of the apartments and his tenants. Much to the chagrin of his wife, he would often lend rent money to the tenants without expecting repayment. When Christmas time came around, he was known for buying toys for his tenants’ children. There wasn’t a friend or stranger he didn’t meet that he didn’t want to help.

In 2007, Ronnie married the love of his life, Diana Thweatt. After their marriage, Ronnie made Diana’s family his own. He loved her two children, Tiffany and Phillip, and her son’s wife, Maggie Popp, as well as the rest of his new extended family.

In his later years, he took great joy in regaling his grandsons with tales from his days in law enforcement. They would sit for hours, wide-eyed as he told them about the cases he worked on and solved—as well as the many shenanigans along the way. The story of Bob Black’s arrest was one of their favorites. His daughter, Stephanie, was sometimes horrified by the detailed stories of his adventurous life he told her then-young children. As his grandsons grew older, Ronnie was always happy to take them to one of his favorite restaurants, Sodolak’s, to eat some chicken-fried bacon and reminisce about his past and hear about what they were up to. They cherished these special moments with him. He was a proud and loving father, grandfather, and great-grandfather—and he never let Stephanie and his grandchildren forget how “damn proud” he was of them, or later, how much he adored their spouses.

Much to the surprise of those who knew him, Ronnie was an especially doting dog owner. In the late 2010s, Ronnie rescued a twelve-pound 10-year-old dog from a shelter, Lexi Ann—the “Ann” being a reference to his daughter, Stephanie Ann, as he often proudly proclaimed. He spent many an afternoon taking country drives and watching television with Lexi. Even when Lexi lost her sight, Ronnie would drive her around with the windows down—but not too far as early on Lexi fell out going around a corner—so she could enjoy the smells along the way.

Ronnie was a good and decent man who loved those around him. He believed in the natural goodness of man and treated others accordingly. On many occasions, he lent a much needed helping hand to those around him—in big ways and small—and never expected anything in return. The world is a better place to have had him and we could use more like him.

He is survived by his loving wife of fourteen years, Diana Thweatt Miller, his daughter, Stephanie Coleman, his children by marriage, Tiffany Thweatt, Phillip Thweatt (Maggie Popp), his three grandsons, Chase Coleman (Jessica), Austin Coleman (Christina), and Reid Coleman (Betsy), two great-grandchildren, Gregory Brookes Coleman and Baby Girl Coleman (due at Christmas time), and his sister, Bobbie Timmermann. He is also survived by his mother-in-law, Rosalie Haisler, brother-in-law, Robert Haisler, and sisters-in-law, Peggy Haisler and Carol Goldsmith. Finally, he is survived by numerous nieces and nephews. Ronnie is preceded in death by his mother, Emma Miller, his son-in-law, Gregory S. Coleman, his sister, Mabel Feldman, his father-in-law, Emil R. Haisler, and his much-loved dog, Lexi Ann.

Family and friends are invited to attend a visitation in honor of Ronnie this Friday, August 13, 2021 at Callaway Jones Funeral Home (3001 S College Ave., Bryan, Tx 77801) from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM. A Rosary service will follow from 7:30 PM to 8:00 PM. A memorial service will be held at 1:00 PM the following day, Saturday, August 14, 2021, at the same location. For those who are unable to attend, a livestream of the Saturday service will be made available through the Callaway Jones website.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the American Heart Association.

Honorary Pallbearers: John LeFlore, Frank Palermo, Buddy Winn, Robert Haisler

Services

Visitation: August 13, 2021 6:00 pm

Callaway-Jones Funeral Home & Cremation Center
3001 S College Ave
Bryan, TX 77801

979-822-3717
https://callawayjones.com

Room: Bluebonnet Chapel
Rosary: August 13, 2021 7:30 pm

Callaway-Jones Funeral Home & Cremation Center
3001 S College Ave
Bryan, TX 77801

979-822-3717
https://callawayjones.com

Room: Bluebonnet Chapel
Memorial Service: August 14, 2021 1:00 pm

Callaway-Jones Funeral Home & Cremation Center
3001 S College Ave
Bryan, TX 77801

979-822-3717
https://callawayjones.com

Room: Bluebonnet Chapel

View current weather.

Tribute Video

Memories Timeline

View the Timeline

Guestbook

  1. My condolences to the family during this time of sadness. Be thankful we have wonderful memories to remember our time with Ronnie. He was a good friend, a good Elected Official that always remembered that he was a public servant. I am thankful I had
    the opportunity to serve and work with him for many years.

  2. Condolences to the Miller family.Ronnie was a kind person.He used to come McDonald’s at night on his way home.I enjoyed listening to him tell me stories.He was soo nice.Rest in eternal peace.May the perpetual light shine on him forever and ever Amen ,Fly high Ronnie.♥️♥️♥️

  3. I was saddened to learn of the passing of my friend Ronnie Miller. He was a dedicated public servant. My sympathies are extended to his family.

  4. Good man gone….. proud to have served with him at the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office.
    May he Rest In Peace.

    CHRIS & SHERYL KIRK

  5. My mother and I send our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Sheriff Miller. He was always nice and friendly; always a joy to talk to.
    Aundra’ Ellis and Mamie Ellis

  6. Ronnie was a caring person who looked for ways to help and make things better. Sincerest condolences to his family – he will be sorely missed.

  7. Curtis & Elaine Washington
    Thank you for all your service. Our condolences to the family. Sending prayers

  8. Lost a great friend. Prayers go out to the family. The Sheriff loved his family and serving the public. Many memories of our time working together from Bryan police department to our time in the Sheriffs department. He will be missed.

  9. Bobbie,
    My thoughts are with you at this time and I’m sure all of the Consolidated Class of ‘56 join me in sending our condolences. Hope you are well and would love to hear from you.

  10. I want to my condolences to Ronnie Miller’s family and friends. I started my law enforcement career in Brazos Valley back in 1974. I got to know Ronnie in his career at Bryan PD, College Station PD, and the Brazos County Sheriff Department. I remember him always having time to help others and cared for them. I was honored to know him and those that worked for him. My heart is sadden at the loss of a friend. My prayers go out to his family and friends.

  11. Our deepest condolences to Ronnie’s family. Ronnie and my dad were good friends for many years. He was a dedicated public servant and a great one at that! I’m thankful to have known him. He will be missed by so many. May he rest in peace.

    Robin & Bobby Penicka

  12. Ronnie was a friend of my husband. They worked together at the College Station Police Dept. He was Sheriff of Brazos County when he hired me to work there. I enjoyed my time working for him. He gave me the opportunity to work many years at a career that I loved.
    My condolences to the family. I am unable to attend the service at this time.

    There Pittman

  13. Sheriff Ronnie Miller was a major and indispensable supporter of the Texas A&M College Republican Club while I was the advisor. His assistance, financial and inspirational, helped us become the number one club in the nation. He also helped many students in need. What is not known is his significant role in obtaining the Bush Library for the University. Brazos County would be a much less significant place without his contributions. “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

  14. For Stephanie and the family and friends — Our hearts ache at the loss of your Dad and Grandfather! Our deepest condolences, as we hold you in prayer for the services and the loss you all have had. Diana, we are so sad for your loss in particular too! Much love, the Thomases

  15. My memories of Ronnie are some of my oldest. He is the kind of uncle everyone needs to have. I’ll never forget running trot lines on the Brazos and all the checker games. And I got my love for cars from your ’68 El Camino. And we shared that middle name thing. My deepest sympathy to Stephanie and Diana.

  16. Dear precious Stephanie,
    My heart grieves for you as you mourn the passing of your dear and loving Dad. I pray that your pain and suffering will be short-lived, and that you will rise up from this even stronger than you have been all of your adult life.
    You are a shining light to all who are blessed to call you their friend. Look to God, as He is your Hope and Strength.
    You are loved by many, and especially Me!
    Mel Kenaston

Sign the Guestbook, Light a Candle

Sign the Guestbook