Gerald Robert Miller, lovingly known as “Jerry” to his friends, and “The Grand Poobah” to his grandkids, bid a peaceful farewell to this world on January 15, 2024, at the age of 75. He was born on May 14, 1948, in Warren, Ohio to Robert and Dorothy Baier Miller. Jerry had a remarkable life filled with love, laughter, hiking adventures, mismatched lucky socks, and sometimes even a little grousing.
Jerry was a dedicated family man, and his legacy lives on through his three children and their families. Matthew, his eldest, shared an epic road trip with his Dad to visit the Bear Bryant statue in Alabama after failing his driver’s license test for the third time. Matt’s wife, Erin, will always treasure that Dad raised a man who knew how to be a father and husband. Susann, the eternal middle child who never became the shot put Olympian he had hoped for, is grateful for the countless hours of dedication he showed as a volunteer, coach and team manager for all her activities, and her husband Shawn is glad Dad introduced him to the best breakfast sandwich you can buy in a gas station. Jerry’s youngest, Emilie, is thankful for her “only child” status granted for four years after her siblings left for college, and still claims to be the family favorite. Although it took a minute, Emilie’s husband, Kevin, is proud of having graduated from “he’s ok” in the eyes of Dad to a beloved football watching son who turned his lifelong Browns fan father-in-law into a Bengals fan.
Jerry was blessed with eight grandchildren that he shared with their grandmother, Marsha Miller, who were the joy of his life. Jerry took great pride in taking them on hiking and sliding rock adventures, always making sure to stop for an ice cream in Travelers Rest on the way home. He was immensely proud of Baikal, Rybolt, Garvin, Robbie, Annie, James, Abby and Kate, and loved watching them grow, flourish, and pursue their own passions. He often bragged about their accomplishments and loved sharing photos of their adventures with his friends on Facebook.
Jerry attended Ravenna High School in Ravenna, Ohio, where he warmed the end of the championship basketball bench, earning him the nickname of “Red Miah.” He graduated with the Class of 1966, and although an altar boy, was well known for staying just on this side of trouble, often with his dog Andy in tow. He was a proud eldest brother to his three younger sisters, Patty, Susan, and Sally. Jerry’s desire for knowledge led him to the University of Akron where he continued his studies in engineering. Although being a Zips fan would be a first, he was a lifelong lover of Ohio State football. He loved to quote statistics. Some of them were even true.
He was an innovator in packaging engineering, and his career led Jerry and the family around the country to New York, Connecticut, Indiana, Ohio, Florida, South Carolina and North Carolina, as he pioneered efficient manufacturing processes, including the ill fated Lifesavers Soda.
Aside from his professional endeavors, Jerry loved reading, golf, and was actively involved in his community. He vocally disliked Woodruff Road traffic, but would brave it daily to support the Greenville Natural History Association Hiking Club, where he found solace in the beauty of nature and formed lifelong friendships. As an esteemed member and former President of the club, he ensured that trails were well-maintained, hikes were led with (mostly) good directions and accessible for fellow outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy. He is survived by his long-time companion, Anne Pringle Nixon, the “Fab Five,” and countless members of the Greenville hiking community, who brought him joy and memories traveling the country and the world in his retirement years.
Jerry’s dedication to service extended beyond hiking trails. He served his country in the Army, embodying honor and sacrifice, and making his family exceedingly proud. He drove cancer patients to chemotherapy, served as a poll worker and watcher, and dedicated hundreds of hours to judging high school speech and debate competitions, long after his own kids graduated.
Jerry was predeceased by his parents, Robert Harold and Dorothy Baier Miller. He is survived by his sisters, Patty Booth (Charlie dec.), Susan Harvey (Mike) and Sally Beard (Mike). In addition to his children and grandchildren and their mother, Marsha Miller, Jerry is also survived by countless aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins. He was immensely proud of his family’s sesquicentennial dairy farming legacy at Baier Creek Farms in Wisconsin and always made sure to attend family reunions in Eau Galle.
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, January 26, 2024 at St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church in Simpsonville, SC. A celebration of life will follow.
While we mourn his passing, we choose to remember the joy he brought into our lives. His infectious laughter, ridiculous jokes, love for nature, and ability to find humor in any situation will forever be cherished. The family asks in lieu of flowers, you give the gift of time with your own family, and hit the nearest hiking trail.