Robert H. Miller, Sr., 85

Robert Miller

GRAY — Robert Harold Miller Sr., 85, passed away on Thursday, May 24, 2018, at Ledgewood Manor in Windham, surrounded by family, after a 15-year battle with Parkinson’s disease.

Bob was born in Nampa, Idaho, on May 12, 1933, where he was lovingly raised by his parents, Harold and Louisa Miller.

Bob attended a local Mennonite church with his parents and came to know Jesus as his Lord and Savior at an early age, faithfully following Him his entire life. During the Korean War, Bob came to Portland to support the war effort as part of the Voluntary Service of the Mennonite Church to work at the Maine Medical Center. An accomplished singer, he toured the area as part of a quartet of young men from Idaho singing a cappella gospel music. Bob began attending First Baptist Church in Portland where he met Joan Parker, his wife of 40 years. They were married on June 8, 1956. They worshipped and served together at the church, raising four children in the Portland area. After losing his beloved Joan to cancer in 1996, Bob moved to Gray where he lived with family until the loss of mobility from Parkinson’s disease forced him into assisted living in 2016.

After coming to Maine in the 1950s, Bob quickly worked his way through the ranks at the Maine Medical Center, beginning as an operating room technician and eventually being chosen to be trained at Mass General hospital as one of the original operators of the open heart surgery bypass machine. He took classes and eventually became a certified respiratory therapist and the first director of the respiratory therapy department at Maine Medical. He was elected as the president of the National Association of Respiratory Therapy for two terms in the 1970s. Following his career at the hospital, he worked in the respiratory home care industry for over 15 years, caring for hundreds of patients in Maine and New Hampshire. He often used his knowledge and ingenuity to create unique systems to provide oxygen for patients.

Although Bob was actually “from away” as an Idaho native, few people embraced the outdoor activities of Maine more than he did. Bob loved to hike, camp, hunt, fish, dig clams, make maple syrup and pick fiddleheads and berries. He loved to show his family and friends his favorite fishing pools or fiddlehead spots. Many next generation outdoorsmen have great stories of time with Bob and owe their outdoors knowledge to time spent with him. He was even featured on the cover of the 2005 Maine State fishing laws booklet, proudly preparing to release a trophy salmon. He also adopted the traditional Maine accent and slang to the point that those who knew him could not believe that he was not born and bred in Maine. The only things Bob loved more than the outdoors were Jesus, his family and his friends. His legacy of loving God, caring for others, and enjoying the outdoors will continue in those who learned life lessons from him and experienced his love and friendship. He was always there for his family, providing for needs and thoroughly enjoying every moment he could spend with his children and grandchildren.

Bob is survived by his four children and their spouses: Rob Miller Jr. of Gray, Deanne Russell of Casco, Cindy Morse of Gray and Carrie Carter of Gray; 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren; his sister, Verna Schneider of Idaho; brother, Wayne Miller of Indiana; and sister, Kay Walkingstick of Missouri. Grampy, you are loved and will be missed, but we thank God for all we learned from you and our memories of the time we spent together.

Visiting hours and a memorial service will be held for Bob on Saturday, June 2, from 1 to 4 p.m. at Crossroads Community Church, 14 Lewiston Road, Gray. Visiting hours will be 1 to 2:30 p.m. Memorial service from 2:30 to 3:15 p.m. Reception from 3:15 to 4 p.m.

The family has designated that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to Dad’s favorite Bible camp ministry: Camp 207 Maine Event Ministries, 66 Gorham Rd., Scarborough, ME 04074.

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