Former Ute defensive lineman looks to teammates for one final assist
Oliver knew Miller must be struggling with the disease, but Miller downplayed just how dire the situation was until the couple’s oldest son, Bronzell Jr., decided to visit his dad for Thanksgiving a couple of weeks ago.
Oliver told her son to track down Miller’s doctor and then put her on the phone with him. Once the doctor called Oliver back, he told her that Miller only had a few weeks to live and had to be in hospice care — either in Wisconsin or Utah.
“We didn’t know he was this sick,” Oliver said. After which, the jokes begin about Miller downplaying his cancer, suggesting it was simply a tenacious cold.
Oliver talked with her children and then offered to care for him in the home she shares with their children, now 20, 18 and 16. Miller gratefully accepted. The couple has been divorced since 1999, but they’ve remained friends.
The same cannot be said of Miller’s second wife, with whom he has five children. They divorced in 2010, in part, Miller said because of the stress generated by the disease. He has five children with his second wife, all of whom remain in Wisconsin.
When Oliver agreed to help care for Miller, she set up an account to help pay for his end-of-life care and funeral expenses, as he doesn’t have life insurance. The website at www.youcaring.com has raised more than $8,000 so far.
Oliver said she’s been moved by the number of people who’ve donated, but also by the fans who’ve offered gifts like Reeder’s jersey.
“I don’t know who they are,” she said. “But it’s so nice. We’re so grateful.”
On Friday, he was invited by Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham to tour the new football facility. He and Oliver took the tour with McBride, who has visited Miller almost daily.
Wolf said the situation “has been a mix of emotions.”
“It’s been a true roller coaster ride,” he said. “He can be the most bright, talking normal guy and then the next moment it’s a totally different story.”
Oliver and Miller will host an open house on Saturday, Dec. 14, at 1 p.m. at the family’s home in West Jordan (3232 W. Charing Cross Road). Their hope is to give more friends the chance to see that 1,000-watt smile one more time. Because no one knows how much time is left, Oliver hasn't stopped to consider how she feels about the sudden turmoil consuming her life.
“I don’t even know how to express how I feel,” Oliver said. “I’m just trying to make sure that he’s OK, that he’s surrounded by people who love him and that he has whatever he needs. The outpouring of support has been amazing.”
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