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.
Celebration of Life
Saturday, June 5, 2021
Gary Dayton Miller
June 6, 2021
Gary, as well as Judy, will forever be important memories in the lives of our two daughters. Bill and I thank Gary and Judy for the warm, nurturing Camp Merriwood experience, one of having fun, learning new skills, and making life-long friendships.
Our condolences to the family. You are blessed with a wealth of happy memories.
May 24, 2021
Can’t believe that after all of these years, I still don’t know what to call you, Mr Miller or Gary, guess I settled with Mr. Miller.
I think of you everyday as I want to call you to hear what you are up to and tell you how I am doing. I miss you answering the phone, “HELLO LANCE!”
Can’t thank you enough for all that you have done for me and how much time you invested in making sure I always stayed on the right path. HM would not have been a reality as it was not for you.
You were a mentor, a teacher, a friend, and a parental figure. I knew whenever I needed advice, or guidance, you were always there to set me straight.
You are a good man, husband, father, grandfather, and friend as all the lives you touched I know you made a huge impact on as we are all so for every appreciative.
As you were taken too soon, am sure you were taken for a good reason to help others that need you as sad as it is to all of us.
I will never forget you as you will be with me everyday and when I make an important decision, I will always ask myself, “what would Mr. Miller say?”
I miss you so much as I feel a piece of me has been taken that will never be replaced.
You will always be with me as I will do my best to continue to make you proud of the decisions I make.
Rest In Peace my Dear Friend.
May 13, 2021
Gary was the first face of HM for me in 1976. Always cheerful and welcoming. A wonderful spoke for the school for so many years. And my first ski instructor as well!
Linda & Max Gulman
May 13, 2021
Gary was a special person! Our 2 daughters enjoyed camp Merriwood so much and have the best memories. I think we enjoyed visiting day more than they did! He will be missed. May his memory be a blessing.
May 11, 2021
Mr Gary your smile was infectious, whenever I seen you coming around the corner at Nathaniel Witherell I had no choice but to smile, even if I was having a horrible day, and most of all the love you showed for my daughter, Mr Gary you will be truly missed but not forgotten.
May 11, 2021
Gary was our beloved Merriwood camp director and made each year something special and different. Gary thought out of the box to keep all of his campers engaged and to have the best experiences of their young lives. Because of Gary summers were the highlights of my youth! RIP Gary we will miss you! I'm sure you'll be running a great camp up in Heaven.
Susan Rich Murphy
May 10, 2021
I can hear Gary's voice now 'Suzie Rich! Turn your tag over!' I was always forgetting to do that when I got out of the water. Gary and Judy were always so kind to me when I was a Merriwood camper for so many wonderful years all because of the generosity of Moose and Aunt Janet!
I'm so sorry for your loss....
The world has lost a fine man.
Erin Frisch Newton
May 10, 2021
Gary was kind, loving man- he loved his family immensely! He made sure each and every girl was well taken care of at camp and had the best summers of their lives.
I remember he would always greet me with a huge smile every morning and wanted to know what I had planned for the day. He said he would come and watch me at horseback riding (my favorite activity) so I could show him what I learned that week. He always kept his word! He will be missed by all. Prayers to the family and all the girls mourning the loss of a great friend and mentor. All my love -
May 10, 2021
Gary was such a genuine man, a role model and leader of many. I appreciate the time spent with him at Innis Arden and forever grateful for the opportunity he gave my God Daughter to attend Camp Merriwood. My condolences to the whole Miller Family. 🙏🏻