The Rev. Earl W. Miller

The Rev. Earl W. Miller

Passed on Monday, 12 April 2021
The Rev. Earl W. Miller died on April 12, 2021 at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Jack Burns Palliative Care Center in Lebanon, NH. He leaves behind his loving wife of almost 53 years, Gail, and his two children, Rebecca and Thomas (Joy), whom he greatly loved. He also leaves behind several grandchildren whom he loved and was very proud: Prairie Irizarry (Ivan), Satchel Lefebvre (Bernadette Dineen), Adelard Lefebvre, Lycienn Lefebvre-Miller, Zeubulon Lefebvre-Miller, Kate Miller, and Keri Miller. Last but never least is his first great-granddaughter, Emilia Marie Irizarry, who had her first birthday two days before Earl’s death.

Earl was born in Pascagoula, MS. Straying from his folks’ birthplaces in Wisconsin, he lived on Route 66 in Battle Creek, MI. In his high school and college days he worked at Capital Florist, Hotie’s Hideaway (a fast-paced restaurant), and both Pinckney and Holland state parks as a lifeguard. He attended Battle Creek schools, Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek, Olivet College in Olivet, MI, and Andover Newton Theological School in Newton Centre, MA. In his third year of theological school, he met Gail Tracy of Wenham, MA on a blind date. Earl at that time was doing student ministry on weekends in Marshfield, MA and Norwood, MA. Earl and Gail were married in Wenham, MA in 1968. After four years “on the hill” and one interim year, Earl graduated in 1971 with a Master of Theology.  Earl served in many churches, some as a settled pastor, and others as he was called by God to serve. His first parish was Plainville Christian Church, United Church of Christ (UCC) in Plainville, NY. Several lifetime friendships began there. In October 1969 Earl and Gail welcomed their daughter Rebecca Ellen Miller, followed by her brother Thomas Earl Miller in June1972.  August 1976 brought the family to Earl’s second parish, Smith Mills Christian Congregational Church, UCC, in Dartmouth, MA. The church at that time was a small, older building. This was his largest parish, with about 100 children in Sunday School. Over time, the congregation literally dug the foundation of a new church, connecting it with the nursery school and fellowship wing. Earl was always an “Energizer Bunny” and a people person. He loved all people, especially children, and would greet them on bended knee if needed.

Earl loved hunting, and he belonged to the Massachusetts Bowhunters Association and Belknap Bowhunters. in NH. He also loved fishing with his friends and especially loved fishing with children. One evening, Gail called the Coast Guard due to Earl’s being late returning home from ocean fishing alone. He rolled into the harbor at about 10 p.m., insisting it was just a communication error with his wife. The front page of the paper the next day read, “Pastor Missing at Sea!” Over the years, Earl completed a 1,400-mile journey, 70 miles at a time, down the Susquehanna River, racing in the General Clinton Canoe Regatta twenty times. During one race, he stopped at one of the islands along the river to give his rain jacket to an injured canoeist. He was never out to win the race, but to finish if he could. He remains a member of the “700-mile club.” He completed three or four solo races but had partners for most others of them. His partners came from Plainville, NY; Smith Mills, MA; Plymouth, MA, and North Canton, OH. He also partnered with his children, Rebecca and Thomas. Thousands of dollars were raised in pledges for Heifer Project International.

In 1990 Earl and Gail moved to Canal Fulton, OH where he once again became instrumental in a church-building project. From the Trinity United Church of Christ in downtown Canal Fulton, a new church was constructed on the outskirts of town. In neighboring North Lawrence, Earl drew plans for and built their home with help from church members.  In 2000 he was called to beautiful Center Harbor, NH on Lake Winnipesaukee. In addition to his pastoral time there at Center Harbor Congregational Church, UCC, he worked closely with Habitat for Humanity, which his colleague Dick Stuart started in the Lakes Region. Earl was also proud to work on the Jimmy Carter Project in TX one hot summer and to meet the amazing man himself.

After Earl retired from full-time ministry, he and Gail purchased land in Moultonborough, NH and built another home. From their 8-acre plot of woods and lawn, Mount Washington can be seen year-round. Earl spent time hunting, securing two caribou 1,000 miles north of Montreal, two bears in NH, and several turkeys. He also did a pulpit supply in Bartlett, NH, and served as interim minister in Conway, NH and Hebron, NH.

A grand celebration of Earl’s life will be held on the grounds of Center Harbor Congregational Church June 19, 2021 at 2PM.  All who knew this wonderful man are welcome!  Anyone wishing to donate to a worthy cause in Earl’s memory may contribute to Heifer Project International in memory of Earl and in honor of good friends Rosalee and Paul Sinn, mentors and mission superstars!   Please send checks to 1 World Avenue, Little Rock, AR 72202   Please indicate it is in Memory of Earl W Miller Jr on the Memo line.

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