December 15, 1922 - February 16, 2014
Sidney was born in Brooklyn, New York, the third and youngest child of Louis Miller and Gussie Abzug. After the sudden death of his father in 1924, the family moved a number of times to different parts of East Brooklyn, relying on relatives to make ends meet. Sidney graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in 1940. Due to family circumstances, he went to Brooklyn College evening school while working in the garment center at an uncle's business, Abetta Blouse Company, until his induction into the U.S. Army Air Force in 1943. Sidney served as an airplane mechanic at US bases in England during World War II.
During the summer of 1945, at a dance in Norwich, England, he met and fell in love with a beautiful young Englishwoman from London, Janet Clavering, who was serving in the WAAF, or women's section of the Royal Air Force. In a letter to his brother, Sidney said he had met someone very special, but soon thereafter, at the War's end, Sidney was shipped back to New York. Sidney returned to New York and resumed working in the family garment business and attending Brooklyn College night school, until he transferred to Columbia University in 1949.
That also was the year that Janet reappeared in his life. After a long period of having lost contact, Janet wrote Sidney a letter informing him that she was moving to New York to take a job with British Information Services (but most probably to reunite with Sidney). He met her at the dock. They were married within a month in October 1949 and enjoyed a loving 61 year marriage until Janet died in 2011.
With Janet's support, Sidney was able to earn his B.S. in Psychology at Columbia in 1951, and an M.S. in Psychiatric Social Work in 1953. Later that year, despite his family's deep misgivings about his moving to the "ends of the earth," Sidney and Janet moved to Seattle where Sidney worked as a social worker at the King County Juvenile Court. He later served for many years on the staff of the Ryther Child Center and then as an Associate Professor at the University of Washington School of Social Work until he retired in 1988.
Sidney and Janet raised three boys - Peter (1955), Tim (1959) and David (1960) - and cultivated a wide variety of interesting friends, in particular fellow faculty members at the UW School of Social Work. Sidney was a voracious reader and follower of current events, a film buff and a strong supporter of progressive political and human rights causes. He and Janet loved to travel, particularly throughout the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia. He was a great and empathic listener as well as a skilled storyteller with a great sense of humor. He was devoted to his family and friends, and was adored by all.
Sidney is survived by sons Peter (Jean), Tim and David (Susan) and six grandchildren, Ellen, Anna, Claire, Julia, Joseph and Andie.
A celebration of Sidney's life will be held Saturday, March 8 at 2:00 pm at the Horizon House, 900 University Street, Seattle. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to either Ryther Child Center, 2400 NE 95th St, Seattle, WA 98115, or the University of Washington School of Social Work, 4101 15th Ave NE Seattle, WA 98105, where the family is setting up a Memorial Fund in honor of Sidney.
Published in The Seattle Times from Feb. 26 to Mar. 2, 2014