OBITUARY

James Erroll Miller Jr.

August 12, 1943October 20, 2018

Jim was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and moved to Jefferson City, Missouri as a small child.

In 1965, Jim received a degree in sociology from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri and marched into Montgomery with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1967 he added a master’s degree in social work from Atlanta University. His commitment to society now focused, he set out to manifest his vision of Dr. King’s dream and to champion the importance of appreciating and respecting the uniqueness of each individual.

This commitment guided him as he held executive positions in the nonprofit, public and private sectors; an accomplishment few others can claim. It was also apparent in his long and active membership in the Omega Psi Phi fraternity.

His dedication called him to serve as a passionate advocate and activist in the community. He moved easily between diverse groups, collaborating with leaders from many backgrounds on a variety of social and community issues. Nobody truly knows how many volunteer efforts, nonprofit organizations and public boards on which he served, but they were many. His commitment to the community was as authentic and generous as he was personally.

He had the ability to embrace the big picture and not let it go. His efforts often created significant change and he did this without sacrificing his character.

Jim had great internal strength and demanded excellence of himself. He did not shy away from problems and continually stayed centered on core issues. He was intelligent, affable, hard headed and memorable.

The devotion he brought to his professional and volunteer life was also reflected in his many friendships. He would invest himself in your life as a coach, mentor, big brother or in whatever capacity you needed him. You could trust him with your triumphs, sorrows and challenges. He had more best friends than most of us have friends.

He was a man of faith who lived, not only with conviction, but also with empathy; not only with confidence, but also with humility; and not only with enthusiasm, but also with grace. In this and many other ways, he greatly influenced many people over the course of his life.

While he loved his children, Kimberly and James deeply, his purest joy was his granddaughters; Quinn Elliott Davis, Sloane Grenville Davis, Mia Rose Miller and Maci Grace Miller.

Services

  • Celebration Of Life Friday, November 2, 2018
REMEMBERING

James Erroll Miller Jr.

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Arnold Sampson

December 9, 2018

Jim and I met at Fort Sam Houston in March, 1968, when we both reported to active duty in the Army's Medical Service Corps. All new officers, at least those with ROTC commissions, were sent to their branch school, to learn about what their branch did and to get their orders to their first duty assignment. I should mention that Jim was the only new officer in our class of new officers who reported to duty with the rank of Captain. The rest of us were LT's. So, he was the class leader. After that I went to flight school and Jim went to Fitzsimmons Hospital to work.

Years passed and I crossed his path again, when he was hired by the Dept. of Health, Education and Welfare, which later became HHS. He started there as a GS 15. Amazing! Our friendship re-started and we stayed in touch, until
he passed away.
Years ago, he invited me to visit him in Denver. His son was still in the crib, He had an affectionate nickname for young James that I cannot put into this writing. The second word was 'butt.' While there, we decided to go to lunch in downtown Denver. Joining us was a cousin of Jim's who was in the Air Force and assigned to a unit in Alaska. We were the only three black men in the restaurant at the time. Near the end of the meal, an elderly white woman came over and nervously said, 'I know you are someone, but I cannot think of your names. Will you be kind enough to give me your autograph.' She was a bit frightened but determined. Without missing a beat, Jim said: "Coach John Thompson, Georgetown University." I said, 'Glenn Doughty Baltimore Colts' and the cousin said 'Franco Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers.' We did not look at one another or break a smile. When the waitress came over and wanted to comp our meal, we declined, paid, and beat a hasty exit. We laughed for three blocks...
I hope James, III sees this and contacts me. I have two bits of info that may be helpful to him.
Arnold Sampson - ahsswami@aol.com - 443-478-3309 ( Dustoff 85.)

Jesse Serna

November 4, 2018

Our condolences to James and Kim's families. Very sadden to learn of Jim's passing. We were neighbors for over 25 years, but more than that, we were friends. Great memories of crazy Spuds, sweet Nala, and the great Simba. We shared laughter, amazing discussions, and tears. Keep his memory in your hearts and you'll have him forever. With deepest sympathy, Jesse & Sheila Serna, the Serna family, Kay Clark, and Harlee & Indian.

Dr. Lloyd Porter

November 1, 2018

I admired Jim very much. He was such a great athlete at anything he tried. He always had a smile and was never "full of himself". I am so sorry to hear he has passed on. I was always hoping he would show up at our next class reunion. I can't talk about Jim without mentioning his dad who took me under his wing when I used to earn my lunch by operating the elevator at Palmer High School. I know where Jim's outstanding persona came from.