Henry Miller Jr.

Henry  Miller Jr.
World Trade Center

Gentle Procrastinator

With one exception, Henry Miller Jr., 51, made his way through life slowly, meticulously. He took maddeningly long to finish anything — woodworking, roofs, stories. His Massapequa, N.Y., garage was a testament to the potential of broken objects, the dream of a thousand somedays when he would get around to fixing them. (Enduring mystery: just how old was that slice of pie found under the scuba gear and fishing tackle?)

Yes, he took his time. Spent 28 years at the job. Countless hours giving pep talks to a woman who lived on the street; she would later credit him with her decision to get off welfare, find work, start a bank account. He was 45 before he married. And like all his projects, this one glowed: "I dunno, fellas," Mr. Miller would say to holdout bachelors, "marital bliss, it's the way to go!"

He was a steady, gentle man, slow to anger, who covered his wife Diane and her children with a mantle of security. He understood the value of time and unwavering persistence: he beat back bladder cancer and smoke inhalation, too.

What's the exceptional rush? Only to a fire: Henry Miller drove the truck for Ladder Company 105 in Brooklyn.

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 23, 2001.

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