Eugene Paul Miller of Alexandria, VA died peacefully, on September 24, 2019, surrounded by family and loved ones. He was 82 years old.
Gene was born on June 17, 1937, to Eugene Page Miller (former Managing Editor of the Winchester Star) and Julia Katherine Miller in Berkeley Springs, WV. He spent his formative years in Winchester, VA. As the eldest of three children he was responsible for stoking the furnace and chaperoning his little sister to the Saturday morning picture show. He was an avid fan of baseball whether playing third base in a pickup game at the local ball field or listening to a Brooklyn Dodger broadcast even after curfew and despite the static. His job at the local hobby store supported his joy of building model airplanes. Being quick witted and smart even earned him a spot on a nationally broadcast quiz show. Gene graduated from John Handley High School in 1955 leaving Winchester to pursue higher education.
Gene was the first in his family to complete college graduating with Honors from the University of Virginia in 1959, and continuing via scholarships to Harvard Law School. Though Harvard was intimidating for a small-town boy far from home, he distinguished himself among peers for his piercing intellect, determination, and disciplined work ethic. He graduated from Harvard in 1962.
Upon graduation, he served at the Justice Department until he enlisted with the United States Air Force. While stationed in the Azores, he met his wife, Judy. She impressed him with her adventurous spirit and carefree attitude; she thought he was the smartest man she had ever met. They married in 1965 and moved to Alexandria, VA where he resided the rest of his life. Gene began work at the Export Import Bank until he moved into the private sector distinguishing himself as an expert in maritime finance and administration. He became partner at Kominers, Fort, Schleffer and Boyer, and proceeded to Preston Gates which was pleased to add him to their maritime practice. At this firm Gene was the backbone of ship financing and construction transactions. After 50 years of practicing law, Gene had become known as one of the giants of the maritime bar. In 2012, Gene retired at the age of 74.
Gene leaves behind a record of notable accomplishments not the least of which is the role he played in Desert Storm. In the Persian Gulf Gene was instrumental in the re-flagging of oil tankers with the stars and stripes thus protecting the oil “highway” of the Middle East. Gene was then tasked with developing and supporting these actions with the Maritime Administration in a court of law.
Gene was a man of strong ethics and high moral standards with a thirst for knowledge. All who knew him were impressed by his breadth and depth of intellect. He shared his insights and opinions freely with others - welcome or not. His childhood hobbies gave way to adult pastimes; he traded in his model airplanes for a camera and took up photography at one point constructing his own dark room in the family basement. His love of baseball transferred to the gridiron where he became a faithful follower of the Washington Redskins. He loved music and the arts becoming a patron of the National Symphony Orchestra, the Washington National Opera and Arena Stage. He enjoyed challenges such as crossword puzzles, and he loved to travel. Together with his wife they visited the far corners of the Earth and whenever possible, he combined his two greatest loves, family and travel, together. His children and grandchildren benefited from many excursions to treasured destinations. In retirement he enjoyed long walks especially along the creek into Ivy Hill Cemetery. Those fortunate enough to greet him on his way would be treated to histories of all who lay at rest there. Gene loved life and life was fuller with him in it. He will be sorely missed.
Gene is survived by his beloved wife of 54 years, Judy, and their children Paul Miller (Joan) and Heather Howard (Tad), as well as four beautiful grandchildren who knew him as Pops. Also surviving are Gene’s sister Elizabeth Joan Wallis (Lee), his brother Thomas Glen Miller, his Aunt Mary Louise Mayhew (Bob) and many nieces and nephews.
Interment will take place at Arlington National Cemetery at a time to be determined, likely in the Spring. In lieu of flowers or gifts please consider a donation to the charity of your choice, or to one of the charities Gene supported: WETA (or the local public television station of your choice); WAMU (or the local public radio station of your choice); SOME (So Others Might Eat); or ALIVE! (Alexandrians Involved Ecumenically).
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