Wilton Royce Miller
Wilton Royce Miller, 80, peacefully passed away June 27, 2013, at Big Bend Hospice after an extended illness. He was born at home in Marianna, Florida, to Retilla and Floyd Miller, and was the oldest child with four younger sisters.
Wilton graduated from Marianna High School, a member of the state championship debate team. His lifelong friendship with Doyle Conner, future Florida House Speaker and Commissioner of Agriculture, began at this time and continued until Commissioner Conner's death in 2012.
Wilton served as a navigator in the United States Air Force from 1953 until 1957, attaining the rank of Captain.He had a passion for flying and enjoyed serving his country in the United States, as well as in England and Africa.
Wilton's great love for the University of Florida began with his enrollment in 1957 in a joint undergraduate/law school curriculum of study.While in law school, he served on the Florida Student Union Board, was chief defense counsel of the Honor Court and president of the Conservative Club, was an active member of the Florida Blue Key Speakers Bureau, the John Marshall Student Bar Association, the Sigma Phi Epsilon social fraternity, the Phi Alpha Delta legal fraternity, and was a manager of the UF football team.
Following his graduation in 1962, Wilton served in State government as Assistant Attorney General under Attorney General Richard Ervin. He then became Legal Counsel and Administrative Assistant to Governor C. Farris Bryant. While serving with Governor Bryant, he was named by the Jaycees as one of America's Outstanding Young Men. After Governor Bryant left office, Wilton became General Counsel to the Department of Agriculture under Commissioner Conner, serving in that capacity until he entered the private practice of law in 1969.
Wilton and Ben Dickens formed the law firm Dickens & Miller, which later became the current firm of Bryant Miller Olive, P.A. He remained involved in political activities, serving as General Counsel to the State Democratic Party and on the National Finance Committee for the Democratic Party.He represented Florida Power & Light Company in many capacities for more than 30 years, with his primary representation being in the area of territorial disputes and agreements. He remained with the firm in the Tallahassee office until he retired in 2012, having been an active member of the Florida Bar for 50 years and a leading lobbyist in the State of Florida.Today, Bryant Miller Olive has seven offices throughout the southeast.
In every way, Wilton loved life, the quest for knowledge, and sharing good times with his family and friends. Whether walking the halls of the Capitol, cheering for the Orange and Blue at Florida Field, or turning the bow of his boat out toward the Gulf, each day was an adventure and an opportunity.He will be missed by many, including his wife of 30 years, Susanne Douglas Miller, of Tallahassee, Florida; son William Bishop Miller (Marti) of Tallahassee, Florida; daughter Melissa Miller Larsen (Gary) of Port St. Joe, Florida; daughter Julie Christine Miller of Jacksonville, Florida; grandchildren John Larsen of Jacksonville, Florida, and Lauren Larsen of Tallahassee, Florida; sister Marilyn Miller Blandford (Joe) of Tallahassee, Florida; sister Margaret Miller Curtis (Dan) of Atlanta, Georgia; sister, Marcia Kathryn Miller of Austin, Texas; and his many nieces and nephews.He is predeceased by his sister, Jeanette Miller.
A memorial service to celebrate Wilton's life will be held at 2:00 P.M., EDT Monday, July 8th at CrossWay Church in Tallahassee, 1698 Village Square Boulevard (located near the I-10 and Thomasville Road exit). Friends are invited to remain at the CrossWay Church following the celebration for refreshments.
In honor of Wilton's belief that education is a great blessing, his family suggests donations be made in lieu of flowers to the following scholarship, which Wilton established at the University of Florida prior to his death.
Wilton R. Miller Family Excellence Scholarship, Fund #013333
University of Florida Foundation
P. O. Box 14425
Gainesville, FL 32604-2425
Checks may be made to the "University of Florida Foundation, Inc" with "Wilton R. Miller Family Excellence Scholarship" in the memo.
Bevis Funeral Home (850/385-2193, www.bevisfh.com) is assisting the family with the arrangements.
Published in Tallahassee Democrat from June 30 to July 7, 2013