Common sense and commitment are values that were often attributed to Robert E. Miller, the longtime teacher, coach and public official who died Wednesday in Brainerd.
His life of service to students as well as his steadfast service of more than 30 years on the Brainerd Police and Fire Civil Service Commission was a case of substance over flashy style. Miller rarely sought the spotlight in his decades of public service but time and time again community would turn to him for his counsel and leadership. He joined the civil service commission around the time when former Police Chief Wayne Hasty was being let go by the city and the demands of the job were considerable. He stayed with the commission until just last year, ably offering advice until he was 91.
Legionville, the summer training camp that has trained generations of school safety patrols, was a particular passion of Miller’s. He served as Legionville camp director for 25 years and spent the next 35 years on Legionville’s board of directors.
Similarly, Miller let head coach Fred Kellett do most of the talking when he served as assistant coach to the Brainerd High School 1954 state champion basketball team. Players said Miller supported Kellett by praising players when they needed encouragement and chastising when they needed criticism.
Miller’s life is an example of the type of leadership we could use more of these days. His style of quiet, deliberate action rather than attention-seeking talk is becoming rare these days.
— Mike O’Rourke