Herbert Nathan Miller
January 18, 1936 – December 17, 2020
On January 18, 1936, in Grand Rapids Michigan, Lee Richard Miller and Catherine Jane (Traver) Miller welcomed the youngest of their three children, Herbert Nathan Miller. His mother always said of her youngest child that she knew he would be a traveling man. And he was.
Upon graduating from Williamston (MI) High School in 1953, he married Wilma Larson (Cool), welcoming two daughters, Christine Lee and Jane Ellen, into the world. Before long Herb and Wilma realized they were better suited to be lifelong friends and parted ways.
He was drafted into the Army and served two years in California before continuing his education at Michigan State University. He earned a degree in Political Science and began a lifelong career in Foreign Service with the US State Department working for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Already fluent in French, his first assignment was immersion in the Lao language in Hawaii to prepare for a nine year assignment in Laos.
Over those years Herb lived in three different areas of Laos working with refugee resettlements and “winning hearts and minds” during the Vietnam War era and catching the eye of Huyen Tran (Martha). As he says, he ‘fell in love with her smile immediately’, and she quickly became the love of his life for over fifty years.
Two sons, Matthew Charles and Michael Lee, completed their family and the four would leave Asia to serve the African continent where he again put his diplomatic skills to good use - from Niger, to Cameroon, to his assignment as USAID director in charge of operations in Burkina Faso. His final assignment brought him home to Vienna, Virginia working at the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C. until his retirement.
Herb’s family was his life. He extensively researched his genealogy and wrote a book chronicling the discoveries he made of his predecessors. His love for family was best represented at annual Thanksgiving gatherings, which brought sometimes as many as 40 people and four generations together. Bringing his love of history to his love of family, during his Thanksgiving toast one year, he proclaimed he had traced his lineage back to the Mayflower, and that we were certified official members of the Mayflower Society!
His infectious smile, wise counsel, and unconditional love lives on in the hearts of his wife, Martha, his children Christine (John) Moore, Jane (Phil) McLaughlin, Matthew (Reena) Miller, and Michael (Lisa) Miller, his grandchildren, Katie, Traver, David, Angelica, Trinity, Krishan, and Maya, and five great grandchildren, Daniel, Charlie, Cooper, Bennett, and Elise. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends who remember him fondly.
His legacy of love, family and the thirst for knowledge will be carried on through his progeny.
Herb has now joined his parents, brother, Chuck, and sister, LouEllen, along with the generations of ancestors he memorialized in his studies.
A Celebration of Life and Committal Service will take place at 11:30 am on Saturday, July 10, 2021 at Rowley Cemetery, Williamston, MI. In lieu of flowers please remember and honor Herb by registering to vote, raising a glass, and holding your families close with love and hugs. Contributions can be made to a cause or charity of your choice.