Miller shares 93 years' worth of memories

May 18, 2006|by JANET HEIM

Editor's note: There are a lot of people you see around town that you recognize, but don't know anything about. People like ...

Henry Loose Miller

Age: 93

Occupation: Retired colonel in the U.S. Army; Merrill Lynch account executive

Hometown: Hagerstown

Where would you see Miller? Miller was born in 1912 at home, in the house at 135 W. Washington St. in Hagerstown known as The Miller House. His father bought the house the year Henry was born and had his office on the main floor.

"I was always brought up to live near work, which I did," Miller said.

When Miller's mother died in 1965, he and his late brother, Vic, donated their portion of the Miller House to the Washington County Historical Society.


Miller attended Surrey School in Hagerstown, as well as Carl's Private School on Jonathan Street, which closed its doors in 1926, Miller's last year there. He graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire in 1930, then from Princeton University in 1934.

Golf long has been a passion of Miller's. He said he began golfing at age 12, when Fountain Head Country Club first opened.

Miller is the last of four generations to have their church membership at The Presbyterian Church of Hagerstown. The parish recently recognized the 80th anniversary of Miller's confirmation, a religious ceremony that took place on March 26, 1926.

It was Miller's maternal great-grandfather, Joseph Loose, who donated the land where the church now stands at the corner of West Washington and South Prospect streets.

Following college graduation, Miller remained in New England, where he managed stores for the Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. for six years. A member of the United States Army Reserve, then in the Connecticut National Guard, Miller was called up for active duty in 1940.

He accepted a regular commission and served 22 years in the Army, retiring at age 50 as a full colonel. During World War II, Miller was stationed in Egypt, Puerto Rico and the Panama Canal zone.

His final assignment was as Army attach at the American Embassy in Manila in the Philippines, where he and his family lived for three years.

Upon retirement from active duty in 1962, Miller took a job as account executive for Merrill Lynch in Washington, D.C. He worked there for 11 years, then enjoyed six years of retirement while living in Arlington, Va.

With no ties to Arlington, Miller and his wife, Winnie, returned to Hagerstown in 1979, where they lived near Fountain Head Country Club until 2005. Miller said the couple made a lot of friends through the country club.

Miller volunteered for years with the Washington County Hospital Auxiliary and has served on the church board, among other "little jobs" he said he has done for The Presbyterian Church.

The couple, who moved to a cottage at Homewood at Williamsport in 2005, celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary in April. They have two children - a son who lives in New Jersey and a daughter who lives in South Carolina - four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

"She has made my life very happy," Henry Miller said affectionately of his wife.

Hobbies: "Golf was my big hobby. It kept me out of a lot of trouble and gave me a lot of pleasure in my life," Miller said. He recently gave up the sport because of a bad back.

Miller said he also enjoys reading. He and Winnie stay active by exercising about three times a week. She swims and Henry does chair exercises.

The couple's home is decorated with souvenirs they collected from their travels and from the three years they lived in the Philippines. The Millers recently traveled to Massachusetts for their granddaughter's wedding.

Their most memorable trip was a 96-day cruise they took around the world in 1973.

"That was the trip of all trips," Miller said. "We wouldn't be able to afford it now."

What does Miller like best about Washington County? "I like the countryside, the closeness to stores and people. People are more friendly here than in big cities, particularly at Homewood. Everybody speaks to everybody," Miller said.

If you know anyone in the community who might make an interesting Our Town feature, contact Janet Heim at 301-733-5131, ext. 2024, or send e-mail to

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