Roger Neil Miller
Bainbridge Island, Wash. — Roger Miller, a faithful and loving husband, father and grandfather, died at home on Bainbridge Island at the age of 87 on Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012.
He was born Aug. 30, 1925, the third of four sons of Dena Sturman Miller and Clinton Leslie Miller, in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho where he was raised.
Upon graduating from Coeur d’Alene High School in 1943, Roger joined the Navy V-5 Pilot program, completed flight training in Dec. 1945 and then served on the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Leyte, flying the last prop-driven fighters. He joined a Naval Reserve Fighter Squadron while attending the University of Washington. In 1952, he left the Reserve about the same time that he earned his BS in Mining Engineering.
On Sept. 9, 1950, he married Carolyn Rae Fritz in Bremerton, Wash. They were married for 62 years, raising five sons and following his career from coast to coast and back.
He began his mining career 22 miles up a trail, by horse, in the North Cascades outside Omak, Wash. Later they moved to Gouverneur, N.Y.; to a mine camp above Healdsburg, Calif.; then to Memphis, Tenn. where he was Vice President/Production at Buckman Laboratories. In 1965, they moved to Burlington, Vt. and later Norwich, Vt. where he worked the last 25 years of his career as president of Windsor Minerals, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary that made baby powder and industrial talc products.
There, the family was active in the Church of Christ at Dartmouth College for more than 20 years. He was president of the Associated Industries of Vermont from 1982-1984 and brought his unique perspective as an industrialist and an outdoorsman to the four terms he served on Vermont’s statewide Land Use Board from 1978 through 1990.
Roger and Carolyn retired to Bainbridge Island in 1990, where Roger maintained a career of fixing, restoring, and building: idiosyncratic sailing scows, traditional dories and cedar canoes; Model A Fords; Datsun roadsters, and John Deere tractors.
When skiing, back-packing, hunting, fishing and sailing became too physically demanding, he found new passions. He reconstructed the Fritz family Clallam County homestead, traveled in Europe, and at the end of his life built table tops of Sequoia salvaged from the homestead. For Roger, there was always a project and a multitude of passions.
He is survived by Carolyn Miller; sons, Matthew (fiancée, Mia) of Portland, Ore., Todd (Deanna) of Boise, Idaho, Bradford (Rebecca) of Portland, Ore., Kirk (Donna) of Helena, Mont., and Dean (Tracie) of Stony Brook, N.Y.; and 12 grandchildren; his younger brother, Phillip Miller (Irene) of Dewey, Ariz., and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents and brothers Clinton Miller and Donald Miller.
A celebration of his life will be held at Rolling Bay Presbyterian at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. The family will receive friends during a reception in the church’s fellowship hall following the service.
Memorial gifts may be made to the charity of your choice or to the landscaping and grounds maintenance at the church where he pondered theology and faith for the last 20 years: Rolling Bay Presbyterian (P.O. Box 131 Rolling Bay, Wash. 98061)