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Brian H.
Democrat NY 26

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  • Honoring the Life of E. William Miller

    by Representative Brian Higgins

    Posted on 2013-02-27

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    HIGGINS of new york in the house of representatives Wednesday, February 27, 2013 Mr. HIGGINS. Mr. Speaker, today I rise to honor the life of Mr. E. William Miller, who passed away last Friday, February 22nd, 2013 at the age of 86. A family man and veteran who served many years as the chairman of the Town of Tonawanda's Youth, Parks and Recreation Department, Bill dedicated his career to bringing quality public facilities and activities to the people of Tonawanda.



    Bill was born in Buffalo, New York, on May 4th, 1926, and lived most of his childhood in Kenmore. Upon graduating in 1944 from the newly built Kenmore High School, he was drafted to serve our country in World War II.

    While in the Army, Bill fought in Belgium, France, and Germany, rising to the rank of staff sergeant before his discharge in 1946. During his first summer home from battle, he met his future wife, Barbara Frost, at Crystal Beach, a popular summer retreat for Western New Yorkers in Ontario, Canada. Bill and Barbara married in 1950.

    After graduating from Hobart College in 1951, Bill accepted a job installing telephone poles for the New York Telephone Company, and the couple moved to Dunkirk. Five years later, they returned to the Buffalo area, and built their first and only home in 1958. There, on Abbington Avenue in the Town of Tonawanda, they raised three children, and lived together until Barbara passed away in 2006.

    In 1973, Bill began his tenure on the Tonawanda Town Board, serving as chairman of the Youth, Parks, and Recreation Department. As a councilman, he was innovative both in vision and method, working tirelessly to bring progressive, utilitarian recreational facilities and programs to Tonawanda. Inspired by his family summers at Crystal Beach, Bill believed that all people, not just country-club members, should have access to high-quality recreational facilities. He understood that spaces for public recreation form the fabric of close- knit communities by giving neighbors opportunities to come together.

    Bill was instrumental in countless projects, including adding roofs to the Lincoln and Brighton ice arenas, replacing a deteriorating pool with the new Aquatic and Fitness Center, the Senior Citizens Center on Ensminger Road, the construction of a boat launch and docks on the Niagara River, the Paddock Golf Dome, a driving range, and lighted baseball fields. Over his years of service, he earned the nickname ``Mr. Recreation'' from his colleagues for his inimitable work. By the time he retired in 2002, Bill was deputy town supervisor.

    In addition to his time on the town board, Bill worked in the credit department at National Gypsum and as an administrator at many area hospitals. His devotion to good works extended to his personal life. He was a founding member and strong supporter of the Ken-Ton YMCA, and a lifelong member of the Deerhurst Presbyterian Church. Politically, he was a long-time member of the Ken-Ton Republican Party.

    Mr. Speaker, I ask that you join me in expressing our deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Mr. Bill Miller, especially his daughter, Lynda Vandermeer, and son, Gary. Like so many of his neighbors and friends, I am grateful for his many years of service to the Town of Tonawanda and Western New York.

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