It was late, late, late last night, and whispering, he said, ‘I’m not alone. Jesus is here with me.’ That was it. His, um, breathing got heavier about 2:30 in the morning and by 4:30 he was gone. —Marnie Oliver
WEST JORDAN — Her ex-husband was clearly agitated as Marnie Oliver tried to put some medication in his mouth.
“It was late, late, late last night, and whispering, he said, ‘I’m not alone. Jesus is here with me,'” Oliver said of former Ute standout Bronzell Miller. “That was it. His, um, breathing got heavier about 2:30 in the morning and by 4:30 he was gone.”
Miller passed away Dec. 21 at the age of 42 in the home Oliver shared with the couple’s three children. Miller was a former defensive end for the University of Utah from 1993-94. In his senior season, he was a key player in the Utes’ 10-2 finish. It was the beginning of Utah’s resurgence, and the team finished No. 8 in the coaches’ poll.
Miller was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in July of 2010. It wasn’t until his oldest son, Bronzell Miller Jr., went to visit him for Thanksgiving that Oliver was aware how desperate his situation had become. The family brought him to Utah and Oliver, her children and Miller’s siblings cared for him in his final weeks of life.
“The last time he was lucid and awake was about 11:30 (Friday),” Oliver said. “We talked, but nothing really important. I asked if he wanted something to eat. He wanted something to drink. And then he kind of dozed off.”
She suspected his time was growing short because he’d slept most of Thursday as well. It was getting harder to rouse him from sleep, although did exchange a few words with Oliver and his mother here and there.
There will be a viewing for Miller on Tuesday, Dec. 24, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Southside Church of Christ, 3188 West 7000 South. Services will begin at noon and end about 1:30 p.m. A graveside service will take place at the Ben Lomond Cemetery in Ogden, Utah, where he will be buried next to Oliver’s father, Robert.
Oliver and Miller established a trust to help cover his end-of-life expenses, including burial, at www.youcaring.com. A family member is providing flowers, and Oliver asked that those willing to help consider donating to the fund instead.
In his final weeks, Miller’s former teammates and coaches rallied around him, visiting him and bringing him comfort. Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham took him on a tour of the new football facilities and former Utah head coach Ron McBride visited Miller almost daily.
Oliver expressed gratitude for the outpouring of love and support – much of it from strangers and fans.
“I don’t know who they are,” she told the Deseret News last week. “But it’s so nice. We’re so grateful.”
Miller played one year in the NFL and several years in the Canadian Football League. He was also an actor, entrepreneur and song writer. He is survived by Oliver, and his second wife, Jane Krohn. He’s survived by his nine children: Alesha, Bronzell Jr, Brezell, Elijah, Breonne, Isaiah, Aaliyah, Arielle and Isaac. He also has a step-son, Stetson.