Amherst Magazine

George Dewitt Miller, Jr. '50

Deceased October 18, 2006

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In Memory 

My old Psi U roommate, George Miller, died on October 18, 2006, aged seventy eight.  He is survived by his wife, Prue; his sister, Elizabeth; his daughter, Molly Jahn; and nine grandchildren.  Another daughter, Joy, predeceased him.  He and Prue had lived in Bloomfield Hills, MI, for nearly fifty-five years.

At Amherst, George and I sang in the Glee Club together.  He also sang in the Choir, for which his choirboy good looks were perfect—even as they disguised a mischievous and fun-loving side.  I note that his page in our fifty-year book includes a letter from Dean Porter removing him from disciplinary probation.  I have no recollection what he did, but I am sure he enjoyed it!

George also wrote for the Student and graduated Phi Beta Kappa, both of which helped at Michigan law school, where he was elected to the Law Review, and married Prue.  He then served in the US Air Force, JAG Division, in Japan.  On his return in 1957, he joined the law firm of Bodman, Longley and Dahling, where he was senior partner at the time of his death.

As I write these words, I have vivid memories of his blithe spirit animating his scholarly bent and his antic forays to Smith College.  He had an odd way of studying.  I see him hunched over a book lying open in the pulled-out drawer of his desk, while he touch-typed key ideas into the typewriter on the desktop.

One time he stopped on the way to economics class to buy two bags of Halloween candy corn which he opened and poured into his coat pockets to nibble during class, I suppose for energy in place of a missed breakfast.  He arrived late for class and throwing his coat over the seat back, spilled a rain of candy corn noisily onto the floor just as Professor Nelson was describing the fall of the grain market in Chicago!  Back at the House, he told me of this event with a mirthful grin, which is the cleaned up version of a George Miller specialty.  We had moments of unsuspected sophistication.  George introduced me to the pleasures of sharp cheese and crackers with sherry before heading off to dinner at Valentine.  We went to concerts at John M. Greene Hall at Smith; a memorable one was Marian Anderson’s last public appearance.

George Miller illuminated moments of my life at Amherst, and I am surprised to feel he’s doing it again as I write these words of fond memory.

—John Esty ’50

 

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