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John Thomas “Johnny” Miller, III
Kitty Hawk and Columbia- John Thomas “Johnny” Miller, III 63, ascended to his heavenly home Saturday March 15, 2014, in Durham, North Carolina, ending his valiant 30-year battle with liver disease. John was predeceased by his father, John Thomas Miller, Jr. of Grandy.
He was born in Brooklyn, New York April 23, 1950. His childhood years were spent in Staunton, Virginia, where he spent an idyllic childhood playing baseball, serving as an altar boy, excelling in school, playing music, and getting into and out of escapades with his big brother Al. He went on to play minor league baseball.
After high school and a young marriage during the Vietnam War era, John enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, following his father and brother into distinguished military service. John consistently tested at the top of his military classes. His intelligence and discipline quickly propelled him to the rank of Sergeant. After an honorable discharge, John returned to Virginia where he began his lifelong labor of love in carpentry. John framed for several years in many states but happened to stop on the Outer Banks and knew he had found his new home and his new life on the beach.
John’s vision and incredible talent for building partnerships eventually led him into business with several noted developers including Charlie Foy and Bob DeGabrielle. He was widely sought out for his honesty and attention to detail as well as his reputation for uncompromising quality. John was particularly proud of his work on the Sea Scape Golf and Vacation Community. John’s unceasing work culminated into the founding of his own construction company, John T. Miller, General Contractor, which he grew into a million dollar enterprise. John built numerous residential, condominium, and commercial structures which still stand today from Duck to Nags Head. John navigated the company through the turbulent and competitive Outer Banks building market and weathered the local building crash and other personal challenges with his characteristic dignity and courage. John eventually transitioned his skills into a position with the Town of Columbia, NC, where he served that community faithfully as a water plant operator, a building inspector and recently as the town’s Fire Marshal. He also was serving on the Tyrrell County Public Library Board.
Besides family, friends, and building, John’s passion in life was devoting his time and talents to Lions Club International. Lion John Miller served the Lions of his state as president of the North Carolina Lions Foundation in 2009-10 and as Governor of District 31-J in 1995-96. Thirty-two years ago, he was instrumental in the formation and growth of the NC Lions Visually Impaired Person’s Fishing Tournament (VIP) that brings more than 500 visually impaired persons and their guests to the Outer Banks each fall for three days of fishing, recreation, and independent living. He was vice president of the VIP Board of Directors.
He was honored with Lions Clubs International’s second highest award, the International President’s Medal, as well as with numerous international and state awards and recognitions. He was a Melvin Jones Fellow, Jack Stickley Fellow, and William L. Woolard Partner-in-Service.
A strong advocate for the blind, visually- and hearing-impaired, John was appointed by NC Governors Jim Hunt and Mike Easley to two terms as chairman of the NC Commission for the Blind.
Johnny Miller leaves so many broken hearted and bewildered to mourn his passing. They include his mother, Constance “Connie” Miller of Grandy; his brother Alfred “Al” Miller also of Grandy; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and extended family members. Left also, are the cherished friends who walked faithfully by his side through it all; “Spirit Brothers” Jon “Trapper” Alexander of Crescent City, California; and Brian Workman of Austin, Texas; golf-buddies, fellow co-workers, and confidants, John Thompson and JC Baker; and his Lions mentor Lion Dave Grana of Kill Devil Hills. John is also survived by his stalwart family supporters Nancy Forbes of Elizabeth City, NC, and Patricia Dedrick of Corolla, NC who comforted him and strengthened John’s resolve to battle on.
Finally, grieving but carrying on John’s legacy of service is his Lions student and protege, adopted sister, loyal best friend, protector, and tender caregiver to the last moment, Lion Gwen White of Columbia and Kill Devil Hills and his “Occasio Ultima” (Last Chance) love, Courtney N. Gallop of Nags Head.
The memorial celebration will be held at the First Flight Lions Club House in Kill Devil Hills at 2 pm Saturday March 22, 2014. In lieu of flowers memorial gifts may be lovingly offered to the First Flight Lions Club and the Visually Impaired Persons V.I.P. Fishing Tournament. Send to VIP Fishing Tournament at PO Box 140, Columbia, NC 27925.
The honor of the final care of John’s earthly remains was entrusted to the care of Courtney N. Gallop and Gallop Funeral Services, Inc. Condolences and memories may be shared with the family via the on-line register at www.gallopfuneralservices.com.