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Peter Putnam Miller

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Peter Putnam Miller Obituary
Miller, Peter Putnam
Peter Putnam Miller of Rowayton, CT passed away September 26, 2016. He was 78.
Peter was born in Brooklyn, NY, the son of the late Robert and Delores Miller. Peter's peripatetic life journey began in Fair Lawn, NJ, where he worked as a soda jerk and earned distinction as one of the last Americans to receive the Hog and Pork Production Merit Badge from the Boy Scouts of America. When he was 13 years old, Peter moved to Morocco with his parents and brother, David; there, his father worked as an engineer for the U.S. Department of Defense.
Peter learned French by working in the fields near Hattonchatel, France - between Verdun and Metz - and he spent each year of high school in a different city: Casablanca; Geneva; Fair Lawn and lastly, Elmira. It was at the Elmira Free Academy where Peter decided to forgo a career in professional sports after surrendering his pitching job to a somewhat talented underclassman named Ernie Davis.
Resigned to earning a living with his brain, Peter accepted an offer to enroll at Yale University. While in New Haven, Peter crooned with the Augmented Seven, an all-male group, and he and his songmates were happily pursued by clamoring girls in towns up and down the East Coast. While at Yale, Peter married his first wife, the late Jeanne Weiler.
Upon graduating in 1960, Peter headed west for sunshine, palm trees, and law school at Stanford. After becoming an editor of the Law Review, Peter activated his ROTC commission from Yale and volunteered for active service in the US Army. He helped lead a prison camp breakout at Infantry School in Ft. Benning, GA and he learned German from a one-armed survivor of the Eastern Front at language school in Monterey, CA. His first assignment as an intelligence officer was in Paris, where he trained Polish factory workers on tradecraft behind the Iron Curtain. When one of his interrogators defected to the Soviets and Peter's Polish assets began to vanish, his office on the Champs-Élysées quietly closed and Peter was re-assigned to Saigon, where he trained members of the Lao royal family (prior to their ultimate reeducation in 1975).
Following his service, Peter returned to Stanford Law, graduating in 1968. That summer, enroute to his new job with Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, Peter stopped in rural Minnesota for a blind date, obliging an old Army friend. The late Gloria Jean Everson explained on their initial encounter that she deplored lawyers, men who wore sunglasses at night, and anyone who drove a flashy foreign convertible. Strike trois. They married in New York 28 days later.
Over the subsequent 32 years Peter and Gloria raised their children in Paris, London, Stavanger, Jakarta, Darien and Weston. In 1974, Peter joined Mobil Oil, where he became General Counsel for operations in Norway and then Indonesia. In Jakarta, Peter formed and led a Cub Scout pack that attracted children and families from over 20 nations. As an energy law specialist, he negotiated major sales and distribution agreements throughout Europe and Asia, including establishment of the world's largest liquified natural gas operation in Qatar. Upon retiring in 1996, Peter formed Energy Law Consultants LLC.
A few years after Gloria's battle with cancer ended, a close friend introduced Peter to Helen Susan Forster, a fellow native of New Jersey and a life-long New Yorker. Deploying an array of covert and overt tactics and techniques, Peter eventually won Helen's heart by serenading her with the New Jersey State Song (I'm from New Jersey and I'm proud about it, I love the Garden State. I'm from New Jersey and I want to shout it, I think it's simply great!...). Peter and Helen wed in 2003. Together they have traveled to several continents, and while at home they split time between Rowayton and Manhattan.
In his personal time, Peter loved travel, fine cuisine, wine, reading, coin collecting, enthusiastic political discourse, researching his Putnam lineage and telling people what to do in a firm, emphatic baritone voice. Some believe that he never lost a game of Trivial Pursuit. Others dispute this.
Above all, Peter loved his family, his friends and his country.
Peter is survived by his wife Helen; daughter Jóna; son Kris; brother David and sisters Liliane and Carole.
Everyone who remembers Peter is asked to celebrate his life in their own way; raising a glass of their favorite libation in his memory would surely make him smile. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Research Foundation.


Published in The Hour on Sept. 29, 2016
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