Originally Published: March 6, 2014 6:01 a.m.
Dr. Harry Kreiger Miller Jr. died on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, at the Margaret T. Morris Center in Prescott, Ariz. Dr. Miller was 91 years old. He was born on July 17, 1922, in Hummelstown, Pa., to Harry K. Miller Sr. and Dorothy Suggett Miller.
He attended Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pa., from which he received a BS in Chemistry, before enlisting in the Navy in 1943. He earned Navy certificates from Princeton University and from MIT in Electronic Engineering for U.S. Navy officers prior to serving in the Pacific theater during World War II.
In December of 1946, he married "Peggy" Frances Brittingham of Hampton, Va. While he earned his master's from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., and Doctorate in college administration from Stanford University, she worked to support him. Over the course of their 65-year marriage, they moved 31 times and lived in eight states.
In 1950, Harry returned to active duty for the Korean conflict. Upon receiving an honorable discharge, he entered the Navel reserve where he served as a Lieutenant Commander until 1982.
Upon completing his Ph.D., Dr. Miller began a long and illustrious career in college administration as assistant to the president at Goucher College in Towson, Md. He then held the same post at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa for two years before taking the post of President at Keystone Junior College in La Plume, Pa., where he served for 16 years.
When he began at Keystone, the college had 264 students and was in real danger of closing. During his tenure, the college became one of the top junior colleges in the United States, enrollment was capped at 1,000 and Keystone instituted several ground-breaking programs, included college classes for advanced high school juniors and seniors, evening and weekend classes for working adults. Dr. Miller was also instrumental in setting up the Pocono Environmental Education Center in the 77,000-acre Delaware Water Gap Recreation Center, one of the first environmental centers of its kind. At that time, Keystone founded their soccer and wrestling programs. Dr. Miller also served on numerous educational, accreditation and non-profit boards in Pennsylvania and along the eastern seaboard. His spare leisure time would find him officiating on the basketball court or football field.
The timing of his leaving Keystone allowed Dr. Miller to serve as Higher Education Specialist, as a volunteer for the American Red Cross's efforts to resettle refugees from the Viet Nam War. This chapter in his life was just one instance of Dr. and Mrs. Miller's commitment to the international community that included hosting international students from Africa, Japan, Taiwan and Kuwait over the years. These students became the "children of the heart" for the Millers.
After Indiantown Gap, Dr. Miller continued his ground-breaking career as Associate Director of the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges, based in Washington, D.C., where he actively worked to increase the education level of our active-duty military by instituting and strengthening programs that allowed U.S. service members to earn college degrees via correspondence courses and to transfer credits from one institution of higher education to another as they were transferred.
The next stop on Dr. Miller's professional journey was in Prescott, Ariz. as Vice President of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, of Daytona Beach, Fla., and provost of the new Western Campus. After two years at Embry-Riddle, Dr. Miller again moved to Washington, D.C., as President of Southeastern University, one of the largest "commuter" colleges in the country. In 1982, the Millers made the trek to the Adirondack Mountains for Dr. Miller to take over as President of Paul Smith's College until his retirement in 1982.
At which time, the couple returned to Prescott, Ariz. Although Dr. Miller had retired from his professional career, he did not end his drive to make the lives of those around him better. He was soon deeply involved with the Prescott Area Habitat for Humanity, where he served as Executive Director until 1996. He continued his commitment to Habitat as Board member and Chairman until well into the 21st century. While working with Habitat, Dr. Miller also helped found multiple organizations in Prescott, including PAIRS (Prescott Area Information Referral Services) and AHRI (Affordable Housing Resources Inc.).
When Harry and Peggy held their 60th wedding anniversary celebration in Prescott, they were required to hold two separate events to accommodate all of the attendees from around the globe and the county who wanted to express the profound effect the Millers had had on their lives.
Dr. Miller is survived by his daughter Patricia "Pam" Miller Hogarth and granddaughter Oriana Belliveau Hogenson. He was predeceased by his wife Peggy; and son, Donald Bruce. He is also survived by the numerous "children of the heart" mentioned above from Kenya, Nigeria, Taiwan and Japan who lived in the Miller home while attending college in the U.S.
A celebration of his life will take place in late April. Those who are unable to make the service may sign the online guestbook at www.sunrisefuneralhome.com or on the Facebook page for Harry and Peggy at www.facebook.com/HarryPeggyMiller. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Prescott Area Habitat for Humanity or the Adult Care Services in Prescott, AZ. (Please specify the Harry Miller Memorial Fund.)
Information provided by survivors.