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Educator remembered for sense of humor

June 06, 2006|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

WILLIAMSPORT

Patrick Lynn Miller - an educator and musician known for his humor - liked to please and perform, his mother said Monday, the day after he died from injuries in a car crash. He was 51.

Lynn Miller, as he was known, played the trumpet and sang for many years, including with the Williamsport Blue Band in high school and the group Friends & Spirit in his 20s and beyond, said his mother, JoAnn Miller.

He was a top trumpeter when the Williamsport Community Band started in 1998, said Nelson Deal, a band organizer. Miller stayed for two years. He left when he became principal at Boonsboro Middle School.

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Lynn Miller followed his father, Clyde E. Miller Jr., into public education.

Clyde E. Miller Jr., who is known as Pat, worked for Washington County Public Schools for 30 years as a teacher and administrator.

"He thought very highly of his father," JoAnn Miller said of her son, who worked for the school system for 27 years. "He loved him to death. He wanted to make him proud."

After growing up in Williamsport, Lynn Miller earned degrees from Towson State University and Shippensburg University.

He spent more than 15 years at Smithsburg Middle School as a media specialist.

Linda Nairn, a colleague at Smithsburg, said Miller moved to North Hagerstown High School for upper-level experience. He later became a vice principal at Hancock Middle-Senior High School, then an assistant principal and principal in Boonsboro.

The last three years, he was the school system's supervisor of instructional technology and library media programs.

Northern Middle School Principal Barbara Rice got to know and like Lynn Miller this year when he filled in as assistant principal for about six weeks.

"He had a rare wit and a very lively sense of humor," she said. "It was a breath of fresh air." Whether he talked about a brick hitting him as he refurbished an old house or being stuck in a thunderstorm, he made it a funny story, she said.

"Quick on his feet" is how Nairn described him - armed with immediate comebacks and "a terrific sense of humor."

JoAnn Miller thinks Lynn was enjoying both music and his new car - a Mercedes-Benz coupe - on a drive through Fulton County, Pa., on Thursday.

Police said Miller's car went off U.S. 30 around a "sweeping curve" just west of the U.S. 522 bypass at about 10:10 p.m. It went over an embankment and flipped several times.

Police said Miller, who was living in Greencastle, Pa., wasn't wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the car. He was flown to the Altoona (Pa.) Regional Health System trauma center, where he initially was listed in critical condition.

Patricia Ross, the Blair County, Pa., coroner, said he was pronounced dead Sunday due to massive head injuries.

She said a team came in over the weekend because Miller's organs were going to be donated after he was brain-dead. He started breathing on his own and lived another day, but then died, Ross said.

Outside of the school system, people who grew up around Miller knew him through Scouting, sports and swimming.

JoAnn Miller said her son hiked the 184.5-mile C&O Canal National Historical Park from Cumberland, Md., to Washington, D.C. - in many stages - as a member of Boy Scout Troop 17.

Nelson Deal's daughter, Beth Deal, was a lifeguard at the pool in Williamsport in the late 1970s when Lynn Miller was the manager. She said he had end-of-season parties for the staff.

Always, he was a friend of animals.

JoAnn Miller said her son once had three dogs and seven cats. He referred to the dogs as her "granddogs."

She said his newest dog was Wart, a Cairn terrier puppy whose name came from his nature as a worrywart.

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