On August 25th, 2017 at 10:15AM, Richard passed away with his immediate family at his side. This will be the last update to the WeConnectDots Blog. Many knew him as Richard, friends called him Dick, and those who were lucky, called him Dad and Papa.
The above was an e-mail message with a link to the below from his family. To his last days, Dick fought the good fight for his community, state and country. . Lancastrians could learn a lot from him.
We were privileged to re-print his weekly columns. ‘May his memory be for a blessing.’
WE.CONNECT.DOTS: On August 25th, 2017 at 10:15AM, Richard passed away with his immediate family at his side. This will be the last update to the WeConnectDots Blog. Many knew him as Richard, friends called him Dick, and those who were lucky, called him Dad and Papa.
My father was born May 22nd, 1942 and was lovingly raised by Sarah and Frank Miller, along with his sister Kathy, in Ellwood City PA. He grew up playing sports, but was identified as an intellectual. He enlisted in the National Guard and attended some college before moving up to Greenville.
He started working for the Record-Argus in 1963, becoming the sports editor, and at age 21 he became one of the youngest writers to ever win a Pennsylvania Newspaper Publishers’ Assn. award. In 1966 he formed his own business, and for the next four years he combined an advertising agency with periodic re-assignments at the Record-Argus.
My dad was chairman of the Mercer County Democratic Committee during the administration of Gov. Milton J. Shapp, first elected in 1970 at the age of 28. At the time, he was the youngest county chairman in either party in the state. He served on the by-laws committee of the State Democratic Committee in 1978 and in 2002 was a member of the transition committee for economic development for Gov.-elect Ed Rendell.
He was a former chairman of Mercer County Industrial Development Committee, was the first chairman of the county’s Solid Waste Authority, and is a former chairman of the Greenville Water Authority. He served on many Greenville, county, and regional civic organizations over the years. He was passionate about politics and public service.
My father acted as a mentor to many, always making time to offer guidance or input to all that asked, but most importantly, he was a great father. Some of my best memories of him come from my Little League days. Two moments will always stand out. During one year of him coaching, he had broken his ankle in the months prior and had to use a walker. Fast forward several months, still needing a walker, and coaching my team. The umpire blew a call, causing me to be called out, and my dad hobbled right out to home plate and proceeded to tell the umpire that he has a special place in mind on where he would like to put his walker. He was tossed from the game. Subsequently, the assistant coach also got thrown out, and the official coach on record for that game was my sister Sara who started the game off being listed as “bat-girl”.
The other moment happened a couple of years later during one of the years I had made the all-star team. We were playing the team from Franklin, who took baseball much more serious than we did. My dad was asked to call the game for the local radio station and I had managed to hit a two-run homer in the second or third inning. I can still see him leaning over the announcer’s table screaming “way to go Joseph, that’s my son” during the live broadcast. Impartiality be damned, his son just hit a home run. In the grand scheme of things, youth league baseball isn’t that important in life, but for those years that I played, it was important to me, which meant it was important to him.
I will forever remember my father as a generous, self-less, and caring man who loved his children and grand-children, and who always tried to help people, and I hope you will too.
He is survived by my mother Diana, his wife of 35 years, myself, my sister Sara, his sister Kathy, and one grand-child, Elliott.