RIP Chef Ernest Miller and Dr. Tracy McFarland

Ernest Miller
It is with great sadness that I relay the news of the passing of chef Ernest Miller and veterinarian Dr. Tracy Elizabeth McFarland. Both were guests on previous episodes of the Root Simple podcast.

I had the great privilege of taking chef Miller’s Master Food Preserver training. Chef Miller’s knowledge of food preservation and safety was encyclopedic. Whenever I had a question I’d send Ernie an email. He was an accomplished chef, teacher, Navy veteran and a kind and gracious person who volunteered countless hours of his time. There is no replacement for him.

The Celebration of Life for Ernest Miller is on Monday October 1, and will begin at 12:30-4pm at Rose Hills Mortuary Visitation Center located at 3888 Workman Mill Road in Whittier and will conclude at 5pm-7pm at the LDS Chapel located at 7505 Garvalia Ave in Rosemead. His brother-in-law has set up a memorial fund to pay for funeral expenses.

Dr. McFarland’s was the most talented and dedicated veterinarian I have ever met. Her diagnostic and surgical skill were legendary. The last time I saw her back in April, for an appointment for one of our cats, she talked about the many times she would head back to her cat-only clinic, late at night, to check on patients. Like Ernie, she was one of those people completely dedicated to her craft, which was all about reducing the suffering of our animal companions. When she entered into hospice earlier this month she posted the following message to Facebook:

What a privilege it has been to welcome your cats to our family, I have loved every minute. I wish I could tell you personally how much each one of you mean to me. Some of you may know that I have been very sick lately. I’m at a point in my life now that God is calling me home. I want you to know I am well taken care of, comfortable and surrounded by my family. I wish you all much love, good health, good humor, and the strength to get through this time. My wonderful team will be there for you during this transition and through the times ahead. The Cat Doctor & Friends will continue my dream of providing honest, compassionate care with integrity. With much love and appreciation, your friend and sister Dr. Tracy.

A memorial service for Dr. Tracy will be held this Saturday September 29th at 10am in the worship center at Grace Baptist Church located at 22833 Copper Hill Drive in Santa Clarita. See the Cat Doctor and Friends Facebook page for information on charities you can donate to in honor of Dr. Tracy.

You can listen to Dr. McFarland on episodes 36 and 46 of our podcast. You can hear Ernie discuss pressure canning on episode 14.

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  1. RIP to two of the kind of people we can least afford to lose at this point in U.S. history. Bon voyage, Chef Ernest and Dr. Tracy.

  2. Thanks for this post! Dr. Tracy (as everyone I know called her) was a zealot for cats, and she has saved a few of mine from almost certain demise at the hands of others. I always had the feeling when I spoke to her that she got along with, and respected, cats more than humans… and had found a calling where that was a plus! She was a rare saint.

  3. How very sad! I did not know either of them, but both look to have passed away quite young, a terrible blow.

    Wishing peace and comfort to both families.

  4. I’m sorry for your loss on a personal and professional level, Erik. I hope the legacy of both carries on though all those who trained, studied, and worked with/for them–the world benefits immeasurably from such dedication and knowledge.

    • Sorry to break this news to you. By the way, Ernie was a great admirer of your work. He mentioned your website many times during the Master Food Preserver class that he taught.

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