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Joseph Miller

Obituary Condolences

Family-Placed Death Notice

MILLER, Joseph JOSEPH MARION MILLER Joseph Marion Miller, a man of two cities, died in Bremen April 7, 2010 due to complications of a heart attack and fall with his wife Luvain Feb. 1, outside their home. They lay outside one rainy night after Luvain hit her head on a stone attempting to help her husband. Both were rescued Feb. 2 by neighbor Karen Bar. Mr. Miller was born May 11, 1924 near Lula, Georgia. A resident of Bremen since 1953, Mr. Miller is survived by his wife of 60 years, the former Luvain Smith, his daughter, Rebekah Jo Miller, of Los Angeles, and numerous nephews, nieces and cousins. Mr. Miller was an active member of Bremen First United Methodist Church where he sang in the choir, led singing in the men's Bible Class, later in the Stella Walker Class. He also led weekly singing at the senior center and at assisted living homes in the area. Mr. Miller retired in 1989 from Chalk Line, of Anniston, Ala., where he was personnel manager. He joined Chalk Line when it was located in Carrollton, and commuted to Anniston after the company moved in 1978. Prior to accepting the position with Chalk Line, Mr. Miller was with Cluett, Peabody/Arrow Shirts in Bremen for 25 years. Mr. Miller was an avid gardener specializing in ferns, some of which had been in his care from Mrs. Miller's family since 1946. Bulbs from his grandmother Oliver, boxwoods from Mrs. Miller's grandmother's yard -- well over 100 years old -- made his garden a living tribute to his family. Mr. Miller enjoyed lecturing on exotic ferns and remained active in retirement donating plant offspring to community members in need and sharing massive ferns with local merchants. Mr. Miller's passions also included cooking. He began making breakfast at age 3 standing on a stool and cooking biscuits for his five older brothers and farmhands due to his mother's illness. He was also beloved as a cook each year with the Methodist men's fish fry, first frying, then creating a special tartar sauce for the hundreds who attended the annual church fundraising event. He became noted for his apple and peach fried pies among family and friends, branching out to sweet potato and chocolate pies upon retirement. A team effort with his wife, the pies were inserted into individual bags labeled, "From the Kitchen of Joe and Luvain Miller." The graduate of Young Harris College enjoyed visiting with his cousin, former Georgia Governor and U.S. Sen. Zell Miller, at college reunions each year. Mr. Miller was proud to have written the lyrics to the Young Harris Alma Mater during his graduating year in 1946. Mr. Miller's mother, Neila Oliver Miller, was one of the first female graduates of the then North Georgia Academy and placed a high value on education, insisting that her six boys be college graduates. Former roommates from the college met Mr. and Mrs. Miller each year, proudly attending the reunion activities. Both the Young Harris reunion and the Oliver family reunion, held annually since the late 1940s, remained highlights of the Millers' year. President Ronald Reagan sent a personal commendation to Mr. Miller in 1988 congratulating him on his nomination for the President's Volunteer Action Award. In 1987, Mr. Miller received the Alabama Governor's Volunteer Award for the Hiring of the Handicapped, which merited him the Outstanding Citizen of the Year Award. While commuting from Bremen to Anniston for work, Mr. Miller made time to volunteer and give back in both communities. He became a man of two cities. Mr. and Mrs. Miller were honored by the Heart Association of Haralson County as Top $ Walkers at the 2001 Heart Walk, with their daughter, Rebekah, present to cheer their victory. Mr. Miller was also in charge of the Bremen polls each election day, and with Mrs. Miller as his co-chair, continued another Miller family tradition, following in the footsteps of his father and brothers. In Anniston, Mr. Miller received numerous honors for his community involvement. He was president of the Calhoun County Personnel Association from 1985-86, chairman of the Televised Telethon for United Cerebral Palsy in 1987 and on the organization's board of directors from 1983-89. For his work with Cerebral Palsy, the children planted a garden in Mr. Miller's honor. The stone plaque read, "In honor of Joe Miller, Adopt a School Garden, Wellborn, TMR, 1989." Mr. Miller was honored for his work representing Chalk Line on the Calhoun County Board of Education's Adopt A School Program from 1983-89. He worked with the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce in the Industry and Commerce on Parade program from 1980-88 and was chairman of the group in 1986. Other volunteer work in Anniston included serving as a cabinet member for the United Way of Calhoun County from 1980-89 and as chairman of designated businesses. He was credited with being responsible for Chalk Line employees reaching 78 percent participation in the United Way fund drive in 1988. Mr. Miller was an active member of the Optimist Club of Anniston from 1978-89 and served as vice president from 1988-89. He was named Optimist of the Year in 1989. He was also in the first graduating class of Leadership Calhoun County, and served on the Hamilton Boys' Club of Anniston board of directors from 1984-87. Upon his retirement in 1989, Chalk Line President Pete Chalk said, "In the 15 years I've known Joe Miller and in the history of my being in the apparel industry, I've never known an individual who is respected more and is on a one-to-one basis with each employee." At that time, Mr. Miller was given a key to the City of Anniston and the day of his retirement, May 5, 1989, was declared Joe M. Miller Day. Following retirement, the Millers pursued their passions with zest. Mr. Miller played his family game of bridge weekly at the Bremen Senior Center where he also led weekly singings. He loved baseball, and along with his daughter was an avid fan of the Atlanta Braves, attending every World Series and playoff game together during the Golden '90s. They enjoyed "watching" games together over the phone, making calls to each other, recalling stats, laughing and enjoying a passion together. He was preceded in death by his parents, Elmer S. and Neila Oliver Miller of Lula. A celebration of the life of Joe Miller will be held at Bremen First United Methodist Church at noon Saturday, April. 10. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to any of the following organizations: Young Harris College, www.yhc. edu, Trees Atlanta, www.trees atlanta.org and the National MS Society www.nmss.org. Hightower Funeral Home in Bremen is handling arrangements.
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Apr. 8, 2010
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