David Mathew Miletich, 66, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, and uncle, unexpectedly died in his sleep Nov. 1, 2023, at his Vancouver, WA, home while battling complications of the COVID virus.
Known to most everyone as Dave, he was revered in his professional life for making communities better through his tireless work on behalf of parks and recreation.
At the time of his death, Dave was the director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Hillsboro, OR, where coworkers remembered him for his “friendly personality and kindness, his laugh and smile, and his desire to do good.”
Dave was born Oct. 22, 1957, in Pasco, WA, the second child of Mathew and Arlene Miletich. In the late 1950s, the family moved to Bellevue, where Dave grew up with his brother, Steve, and sister, Karen. The trio joined dozens of kids in the Lake Hills neighborhood which was still surrounded by farmland. Dave honed his love for sports and recreation with countless neighborhood games and adventures. He developed a passion for basketball, baseball, and soccer in youth sports leagues and at Tillicum Junior High and Sammamish High School.
After graduating from the University of Oregon, Dave began his career in parks and recreation first with the City of Redmond and later with Longview and Vancouver, WA, and then with Clackamas and Hillsboro, OR.
Dave spent 17 years with the City of Vancouver, leading the planning and development of the Firstenburg Community Center _ a state of the art fitness and recreation complex.
The last 11 years of his career were spent leading the parks and recreation program for the City of Hillsboro, OR. A key accomplishment was the Hidden Creek Community Center which includes an accessible park and playground for people of all abilities.
In keeping with his strong belief in supporting under-served communities, Dave forged close ties with multinational cultural hub M&M Marketplace _ a complex of more than 80 small businesses looking to meet the needs of the community.
It was early in his career while working in Redmond that Dave met his future wife, Jane, who became the love of his life. The couple raised three boys, Brady, Colin, and Erik. Dave was the boys’ first coach when they were very young _ which included both an undefeated team and winless team _ but all players under his tutelage had fun and had an opportunity to play.
Dave went from coach to spectator as the boys grew, always careful to encourage but not pressure. He enjoyed all kinds of outdoor adventures with each of his sons _ climbing mountains, hiking in national parks, and visiting baseball spring training. A huge fan of the Seattle Mariners and Oregon Ducks, he had a friendly rivalry with his WSU Cougar bride and UW Husky brother and sister. Dave prided himself on being a master of the bar-b-que which came in handy at tailgates.
Dave deeply valued his faith, family, and his Norwegian and Croatian heritage. He was an active member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Vancouver, and provided great assistance to his mother in the final years of her life. She died in January 2023.
Dave’s family was the most important thing in his life. He loved being a grandfather.
He and Jane took great joy in seeing their sons married and thriving in the Vancouver area, spending many vacations and special occasions with Brady, his wife, Kati and their children, Marcus and Luci; Colin and wife, Marta; and Erik and wife, Tori.
Dave leaves behind an extended family of siblings, cousins and in-laws who miss him deeply but will cherish memories of the time they had together.
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