George Lee Miller, 80, died at home after a long struggle with pancreatic cancer on Saturday, April 24, 2021. He was born in Cripple Creek, Colorado on September 16, 1940, to John Jeter Miller Jr. and Evelyn Lucille Doran Miller. He received his bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. He was a veteran of the US Army serving as a First Lieutenant from 1964-66 stationed at Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He was employed by Union Carbide as a chemical engineer, group leader, and capital project manager for 37 years. He began his career in the Central Engineering Department in South Charleston, West Virginia. He later worked in the UCAR Emulsions Systems Division in Cary, NC, Garland TX, and Tucker GA. George was a mentor and helped co-workers become better engineers. He retired in 1999 to Sanford, NC.
George had a lifetime love of nature. He enjoyed camping, fishing, photography, hiking, rocks and minerals, lapidary, gardening and many other outdoor pursuits. He was able to travel to all 50 states, many National Parks, and several foreign countries. He was well known in his community for his volunteer efforts at the Enrichment Center as an 18 year SHIIP (Senior Health Insurance Information Program) volunteer and at San-Lee Park. He and his wife, Theresa were awarded the Governor's Award for Volunteer Service by Governor Roy Cooper in 2018 for their many years of volunteering in these and other areas. He and Theresa published a book on the wildflowers of San-Lee Park which remains available today.
George was devoted to his family and never met a stranger. He was known as M3 or "Motor Mouth Miller" for his gift of gab and storytelling. He was also known as "The Hat Man" or "The Flash" by the staff of Duke Cancer Center and others for his large collection of decorated hats. The hat collection began as humor when he started chemotherapy but continued when it proved to be inspirational to the staff and patients. He had over 50 hats with decorations ranging from cartoon characters to seasonal themes.
George had a strong faith and was a regular participant at United Methodist Churches wherever he lived. He and Theresa founded Sunday school classes at multiple churches and served in a variety of leadership roles. Even during the last year with COVID restrictions he participated online in worship and Sunday school meetings over Zoom.
George was preceded in death by his parents, John and Evelyn Miller, and his son, Tim Miller and daughter-in-law Leeann Lawson Miller. He is survived by his loving wife and lifetime companion of 56 years, Theresa Haynes Miller of Sanford; daughter Cheryl Miller Phillips and son-in-law Rob Phillips of Raleigh NC and grandchildren Victoria Phillips of Raleigh, and Judd Miller, Nash Miller, and Petra Miller of Miamisburg, OH; sister Elaine Miller Goodwin and brother-in-law Gary Goodwin of Alamosa, CO. He also leaves behind an extended loving family in multiple states.
George's love of life and people will be missed by all who knew and loved him. Special love and thanks to his many doctors, nurses and caregivers.
An informal come and go memorial celebration will be held outside at the picnic shelter at San-Lee park on Saturday, May 8, from 1:00PM to 3:00PM.
A private service will be held for the family in June at White Plains UMC in Cary. This service will be made available on Facebook and on the church website for later viewing.
George's ashes will be inurned at Cunningham Memorial Park in St. Albans WV.
Memorials may be given to Duke Cancer Center, San-Lee Park, St. Luke UMC, Sanford, or White Plains UMC, Cary.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of George Lee Miller, please visit our floral store.
Duke Cancer Institute Research
DUMC 3624, Durham NC 27710
St Luke United Methodist Church
2916 Wicker Street, Sanford NC 27330
White Plains United Methodist Church
313 SE Maynard Rd, Cary NC 27511
San Lee Park
572 Pumping Station Road, Sanford NC 27330