Miner Seymour, an affable designer/builder and family man known for his sense of joyful creativity, died on July 9, 2021 in Newton, Kansas after six years of progressive dementia. He was 72. He was born in Columbus, Ohio on Valentine’s Day, 1949, to Miner W. and Anne Rutherford Seymour. He graduated from Columbus Academy in 1967 and Vanderbilt University in 1971. He attended Bethel College Mennonite Church.
Miner’s first job in high school was working below the deck on the S.S. Badger, the last coal-fired passenger/car ferry steamship operating in the U.S. The Badger crossed Lake Michigan to Wisconsin twice a day. After graduating from college, he worked in the field of medical economics, then went on to pursue his interest in architecture.
After meeting Valetta Goering over a pair of broken eyeglasses in a medical clinic in Columbus, Miner followed her to the Pacific Northwest where they married, and he studied architecture. In 1985, they returned to Valetta’s hometown of Moundridge, Kansas, where he built their family home and welcomed their only child, Kate. Over the years, he put his design and construction skills to use with a focus on environmentally sustainable home design. He also helped build homes for Mennonite Disaster Service and Habitat for Humanity.
The essence of Miner was his cheerful imagination. He remained playful throughout his adult life and delighted in helping others find similar joy. At one point, he created a sand beach at the edge of the family apple orchard for nights around the bonfire and soaks in the stock tank “swimming pool” with friends.
Miner’s creative drive led him to study art and poetry as an adult at Bethel College, graduating with a bachelors degree in 1990. In 1992, Miner started a concert series called “Old Settlers Inn” which attracted singer-songwriters from all over the country performing sold-out shows for 17 years. Old Settlers Inn concerts are still aired on KMUW’s New Settlers Radio Hour.
Miner’s fondest memories centered around his family’s 115-year-old cottage on Lake Michigan where he spent every summer of his life enjoying water sports, building sand castles and skipping rocks with Kate and other children, and enjoying sunsets over the lake.
Miner was preceded in death by his parents along with his only two siblings, Emily Berand and Nancy Billington, and his brother-in-law, Howard Knight. Survivors include his wife, Valetta, daughter, Kate Seymour, son-in-law, Todd Lawrence, granddaughter, Ruth Seymour, sister-in-law, Wanda Knight, brother-in-law, John Berend, and seven nieces and nephews.
A celebration of life is planned for July 28 at Bethel College Mennonite Church at 10:00 AM to honor Miner, who never let go of the thread. Masks will be required at the service.
Donations can be made to The Land Institute and Mennonite Disaster Service in care of Petersen Funeral Home.