Jeff Millar, longtime Houston Chronicle film critic and humor columnist, died Friday, the 30th of November 2012. He was 70 years old.
Jeffery Lynn Millar was born on the 10th of July 1942, in Pasadena, Texas, to Daniel L. and Betty Ruth Shove Millar. He grew up in League City, graduating from Clear Creek High School as valedictorian in 1960.
He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Texas and was immediately employed by the Houston Chronicle in 1964, becoming their film critic in 1965. As such, he was often asked to do movie commentaries for local radio and television stations, as well as considerable public speaking and the occasional faraway junket to interview actors on location. For a time, he also covered big music stories. He covered the Beatles Houston concert in 1965 and Janis Joplin's high school reunion in 1970. He started writing his humor column in 1972, where he was known to his readers as Unca Jeff. He wrote and created for the Chronicle until his retirement in 2000.
When Jeff wasn't writing for the Chronicle, he was still writing, and his writing took many forms. In 1974 Jeff and illustrator Bill Hinds developed a comic strip, "Tank McNamara," a satiric look at the American obsession with sports. Tank appears in more than 300 newspapers nationwide. One of his short stories, "Dead and Buried," became what he admitted was a low-budget horror film. His thriller novel, "Private Sector," was published in 1978.
He also found great pleasure in playwriting, as far back as his early school days. Two of his plays were produced locally. In 1988, "Icehouse," adapted from characters recurring in his humor column, was produced by Houston's Stages Theater. Jeff appeared in the production. "The Rice," produced by Main Street Theater in 2004, was inspired by receipts and scribbled messages Jeff discovered in a dusty file folder at the old Rice Hotel.
Other pleasures included acting in community theater and, in recent years, creating wildly imaginative stories with his dearly-loved grandsons, Rafael and Lucas.
After his UT graduation, Jeff married Lynne McDonald. Their marriage ended in divorce, but the friendship remained until her death.
He married Peggy Jane Vance in 1994. His marriage to Peg inspired another Millar-Hinds comic strip, "Second Chances," which explored the delights and crazies of a second marriage. "Second Chances" ran from 1996 to 2000. His marriage ran for the rest of his life.
Jeff was preceded in death by his parents, Dan Millar and Betty Ruth Coons. He is survived by his beloved wife, Peg; stepson, Matthew Watson; stepdaughter, Meggan Watson and her husband Hismar Fernandez; grandsons, Rafael and Lucas Fernandez-Watson; sister, Lisa Berry and her husband David, and children, Seth and Hannah; sisters, Serena Andrews and Shelly Millar; brothers, Dan Millar and Mark Millar; aunt, Helen Garrett; and cherished friends. His legacy is his wit and his wisdom.
The family would like to thank M.D. Anderson Cancer Center for their steady and capable care provided over the past three-and-a half years.
A service of remembrance, in celebration of Jeff's life, will be conducted at two o'clock in the afternoon on Saturday, the 8th of December, in the Jasek Chapel of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston, where Bishop Michael D. Olsen, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will officiate.
In lieu of customary remembrances, memorial contributions may be directed to the charity of one's choice
Published by Houston Chronicle on Dec. 2, 2012.