Surrounded by the familiar comforts of his home, Richard J. Miller, past president of the Pennsylvania Gas Association, peacefully died in the early hours of Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014.
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Born in Syracuse, N.Y., he moved to Tunkhannock in Wyoming County, Pa., his father's birthplace, at the age of 11. Dick graduated from Tunkhannock High School in 1940 and from Wyoming Seminary in Kingston, Pa., in 1941. Enrolled at Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H., he left after his freshman year to become a naval aviation cadet. Perhaps his proudest accomplishment was receiving his wings at Pensacola Naval Air Base and serving as a naval aviator stationed at Port Lyauey, French Morocco. After his discharge in 1946 as a lieutenant junior grade, he returned to Dartmouth, where he received his A.B. in February 1949.
With his service and education in his past, he accepted his first sales supervisory position from American Sugar Refining Co. and later from Perfection Stove Co. He then joined Pennsylvania Consumer Finance Association. He was executive vice president of this statewide trade association comprised of 950 or more consumer finance officers, including such well-known names as Universal, CIT, Commercial Credit, Household Finance, Beneficial Finance Associates and many others. His final executive position was president of the Pennsylvania Gas Association, which he held for 16 years until his retirement in 1987.
While Dick would downplay his accomplishments as a business and community leader, his enthusiastic civic-minded spirit prevailed throughout his career. Always wanting to make a contribution and freely giving of his administrative experience and ability, Dick's munificence included past president of the Harrisburg Trade Association Executives, past vice president of the Hampden Twp. Board of Commissioners, former chairman of the Cumberland Valley Regional Advisory Board of Mellon Bank and director of Consumer Credit Executive Association of the Delaware Valley. He served on the boards of the West Shore Public Library, Central Branch of the YMCA and West Shore Country Club. He was the coordinator of the Tri-County United Way fund drive and a 50-year member of the Pennsylvania Society Inc.
Dick's friendships, those longstanding and those made since moving to Harrisburg in 1959, covered a tremendously broad strata of society. Those friendships, both old and new, were based solely on the strong infusion of mutual trust and respect. Whether playing racquetball, squash, where he was a member of the Harrisburg Squash Club, or golf, which incidentally included a hole-in-one in 1968 at Caledonia State Park, you knew you were facing a competitive, rigorous and honorable opponent. Married on May 15, 1965, to the former Gretchen E. Zeidler of Scranton, this year would have been the Millers' 49th wedding anniversary.
Dick was preceded in death by his beloved daughter, Heidi Miller Crawford.
He is survived by his wife; his sister-in-law, Kay Z. White; and extended members of the White family of Dalton, Pa., including several nieces and nephews. After spending countless summers at Lake Carey and Lake Winola, he will be greatly missed by his many friends in the Wyoming Valley.
An early spring funeral service will be held at Hickory Grove Cemetery in Waverly, Pa., with a date to be announced by the family.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Disabled American Veterans, 4219 Trindle Road, Camp Hill, PA 17011, and to Camp Hill Presbyterian Church, 101 N. 23rd St., Camp Hill, PA 17011. A gift may also be made to Wyoming Seminary, 201 N. Sprague Ave., Kingston, PA 18704-3593, or any memorial tribute of the donor's choice.
A memorial celebratory service of Dick's life will also be held at the Camp Hill Presbyterian Church in early spring, with an exact date to be determined by the family.
The family wishes to extend its sincere thanks to the staff of In Your Home Care and especially to Homeland Hospice, for their excellent care and compassion during Dick's final days.
Published in Scranton Times on Feb. 2, 2014