Gary Dayton Miller
September 29, 1938 – April 30, 2021
Gary Dayton Miller, 82, passed away unexpectedly on Friday, April 30th. Born in Mount Vernon, NY on September 29th, 1938, he was the beloved son of the late Gordon and Janet Miller. Gary graduated from the Horace Mann School in 1956 where he was the quarterback on the football team and point guard on the basketball team. He graduated from the University of Bridgeport in 1960 with a degree in education and continued there to earn a master's degree in education. After raising their family in Greenwich, CT, he and his wife, Judy, recently located to Hanover, NH, where Judy will continue to reside. Gary dedicated his life to fostering an environment for thousands of young people to grow and thrive, often playing the role of surrogate father and grandfather. His career began as a teacher and head basketball coach at Wilton (CT) High School where his team reached the state championship game in the 1967-68 season. In 1968, he returned to his alma mater to join the faculty at the Horace Mann School where he was a teacher, the Admissions Director, member of the Guidance Department, and coach of football, golf, and girls basketball before retiring in 1997. While at Horace Mann, he was also a co-founder of Summer on the Hill, an academic enrichment program for local public school students, where he served as chairman of the board.
His true joy was time at Camp Merriwood for girls in Orford, NH, which grew from his mother’s vision in 1949. It was there in 1957 that Gary met the love of his life, Judy, when she caught his eye after picking her up at the train station her first summer as a counselor. She continued to capture his heart for almost 61 years of marriage. Gary filled many roles at Merriwood over the years: director, mower of soccer fields, bike riding instructor, gardener with his junior campers, and Santa - donning a red suit and white beard in the middle of the summer heat. Invariably, Gary would be working on some project around camp, but never intently enough that he wouldn’t stop and chat with whomever came by. When not puttering around camp, Gary loved to hit the links with Judy, travel to Park City to ski, or cruise around the lake as the sun set, laughing and telling stories with his family.
Gary loved his family immensely, but his grandchildren were the apple of his eye. There was no bigger fan on the sidelines than Grandpa. He sported the appropriate team colors, wore the team swag like all the other fans, and in his eyes his grandchildren were always the best players out there. In addition to his beloved wife, Gary is survived by his daughter Susan (David) Hild, and sons Greg (Judy) and Mark (Renai) Miller, adored grandchildren, David (Ali) and Steven Hild and, Claire and Kevin Miller, and great-grandson, Archer Hild. He is also survived by his brother, Gordon Porter Miller and his immediate family. In lieu of flowers, memorials should be made to the “Moose and Janet Miller Campership Fund,” named for his parents and created so girls who may not have been able to attend camp for financial reasons would have the opportunity to experience Merriwood. Checks should be sent to 37 Long View Road, West Hartford, CT 06107.
A celebration of Gary’s life will be held on Saturday, June 5th at 11:00 at the Orford Congregational Church, Orford, NH with a reception following at Camp Merriwood.
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