Dr. John S. Miller

August 13, 2012  

LOWVILLE, N.Y.  —  Dr. John S. Miller, 85, of 7629 Collins St., died Sunday, Aug. 12, in the Lewis County Residential Healthcare Facility. 

A long-time dentist in the community, and a dearly loved husband, father, grandfather, uncle, cousin and friend, Dr. Miller died in the company of his family due to complications associated with advanced Alzheimer’s disease.

Born Jan. 27, 1927, in Lowville, Dr. Miller was the son of Stanley B. and Charlotte M. Miller, he graduated from St. Lawrence University in 1948, and received his dental degree in 1952 from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston.

Dr. Miller served as an officer in both the U.S. Merchant Marine at the end of World War II, shipping off to both Europe and China, and the U.S. Navy during the Korean War, where he was assigned as dental officer to the U.S. Marine Corp at Camp Lejeune and Cherry Point.

He married Carol Banner in Oneonta, NY in 1951 and, following his military service, returned to Lowville in 1954 to join his brother, Dr. Edgar M. Miller, in practicing dentistry. Known to many as “Dr. John” or “Doc,” he practiced in Lowville for 50 years until he retired at the end of 2004, serving thousands of patients and employing dozens over that time. 

An avowed proponent of preventative medicine and dentistry who favored interceptive orthodontics, restorative dentistry and holistic and nutritional forms of healthcare, Dr. Miller was a member of the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain, the American Academy of Gnathological Orthodontics, the American Academy of Head, Neck and Facial Pain, the American Academy of Pain Management, the American Academy of Preventative Medicine, the American Dental Association, and the New York State and Fifth District Dental Associations.

Dr. Miller was also a man of a many and varied interests: a long-time gardener, who looked forward to each and every spring to plant anew; a gentleman farmer, who raised sheep, cattle and other livestock in the fields behind his dental office; an avid outdoorsman, who hiked, hunted, fished, canoed, swam and scuba-dived across much of the north country, but mostly at his beloved Crystal Lake; a conservationist, and who favored green technology before it was popular, installing the first solar drip heating system in the north country; and a dedicated horticulturalist, who not only cultivated his wonderful apple orchards, but on whose Collins Street property dozens of distinct species of trees grow.

Dr. Miller came from a long line of Millers and Merrells, families that have been in the Americas since the mid-1600s and lived in Lewis County for over 200 years. Rooted in Lowville and the north country, Dr. Miller was a long-time member of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Lowville, a vestryman of Trinity Church, a saxophone player in the Lowville Village Band, and instrumental in the formation of the Residential Healthcare Facility at the Lewis County General Hospital, where he ultimately died. He was also a 32nd degree freemason, a member of the local Fellow Craft Club and Blue Lodge, a Shriner and a member of the Royal Order of Jesters.

He delighted his family, friends and patients for decades with his warmth, intelligence, judgment, humor, toughness and, above all, his boundless capacity to help and care for those around him.

Surviving are his wife of 61 years, Carol B. Miller, Lowville, a son, Jonathan W. Miller, New York City, a daughter, Melinda W. Miller, Colton, a daughter, Ellen P. Miller, and son-in-law, Richard C. Reed, Oneonta, and three adored grandchildren, Jacob Miller Widrick, Philadelphia, PA, Eliada Miller Widrick, Boca Raton, Fla., and Hannah Miller Widrick, Mesa, AZ. He is also survived by a number of Miller, Merrell and Banner cousins, nieces and a nephew and their respective families.

A brother, Dr. Edgar M. Miller, two cousins, the Honorable Nathaniel B. Merrell and Edgar S. K. Merrell II, each of Lowville, and his brother-in-law, L. William Banner, Ithaca, all died before him.

At Dr. Miller’s wishes, there will be no funeral or calling hours, and burial will be in the Lowville Rural Cemetery at the convenience of the family.

Out of the family’s deep appreciation for the comfort and care provided to Dr. Miller over the last year by the 2nd floor staff of the Lewis County Residential Healthcare Facility, and in lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Dr. John S. Miller’s name to the Lewis County Residential Healthcare Facility, 7785 North State Street, Lowville, NY 13367, care of the 2nd Floor Nursing Home.

Condolences may be made online at www.isenekerfuneralhome.com.

Information provided by Iseneker Funeral Home of Lowville and Newzjunky, Watertown, N.Y.