Walter Miller

Walter Ernest Miller, 98, of Magnolia Glen Senior Living in Raleigh, passed away Friday, Oct. 1, 2021.

A celebration of life is being planned for a future date.

 A quiet, kind and gentle man with a self-deprecating sense of humor, his life was dedicated to his family, his faith and service to others.

Born in Elizabeth, N.J., to Ernest Barry Miller and Emily Mackie Miller, Walt thrived under their positive influence. His childhood and teenage years were happy ones.

In 1940, Walt graduated from Thomas Jefferson H.S., the all-boys public high school in Elizabeth. That fall, he was admitted to the College of Engineering at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. 

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Walt enlisted in the U.S. Army and was assigned to the 380th Combat Engineer Battalion. He served for three years in the Philippines and Japan. In the spring of 1946, after being honorably discharged, Walt returned to Lehigh. With the financial support of the G.I. Bill, he completed his B.S. degree in chemical engineering.

Walt met his future wife, Dorothy, at a Lehigh-Dickinson football game when greeting his former high school principal, Porter Averill – who happened to be Dot’s father. On their first date, they attended a New Year’s Eve party with Walt’s Lehigh friends. They both returned home that evening knowing their futures would be together.

After graduating from Lehigh, Walt joined the DuPont Co. in Newark, N.J. Walt impressed Dot’s father when he insisted on walking several miles to a train station during a howling blizzard. Walt was always a dedicated employee.

Walt and Dot married on June 19, 1948, in Elizabeth. In 1956, after the birth of their third child, Walt transferred from Newark to DuPont’s Newport, Del., location and the family moved to Wilmington, Del.

Walt was an outstanding father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He was involved in youth sports and countless after-school and weekend activities with his children. Camping across the USA and Canada and summer vacations in Maine drew the family ever closer.

Walt continued to work at the Newport plant until his retirement in April 1984. The day after retiring from DuPont, he joined the Ciba-Geigy Co., retiring for a second time in 1991. 

In September of 1994, Walt and Dot visited the Crystal Coast. After a walk on the beach, they impulsively bought a condo on Bogue Sound, in Pine Knoll Shores, N.C.; later declared the best decision they ever made!

Walt made many friendships through church and community volunteering. For 18 years, Walt volunteered as an AARP-IRS tax counselor for the elderly. Walt and Dot were also enthusiastic volunteers with Crystal Coast Habitat for Humanity (CCHH). They helped build a “50+ House” (a reference to the age of the volunteers); joined another group of volunteers to build 10 houses in one week (marking the 10th anniversary of CCHH); and set up the first Habitat ReStore in Carteret County, N.C.

Walt and Dot were members of First Presbyterian Church in Elizabeth, where their children were baptized; Concord Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, where they served as elders; and First Presbyterian Church in Morehead City, N.C., where Walt served on the Physical Plant and Finance committees. 

At the age of 89, Walt received acknowledgement for his military service by joining fellow World War II veterans on the last “Flight of Honor” from Raleigh to Washington, D.C. This experience became one of his fondest memories.

Walt is survived by his beloved wife of 73 years, Dorothy Averill Miller; three children, Carolyn Miller Sexton (Frederick), Walter Kent Miller (Joan) and Wendy Miller Balakhani (Mohsen); four grandchildren, Michael Miller (Roxanne), Emily Miller, Fred Sexton (Amelia) and Mina Balakhani; and six great-grandchildren, Monroe, Jaden, Ellie, Graham, Olivia and Ellis. 

Walt was preceded in death by his parents, Ernest and Emily Miller; sisters, Ruth Miller and Peggy Miller Benner (Lee); and brother, Charles Miller (Betty).

Memorial gifts to Crystal Coast Habitat for Humanity, 5898 Highway 70W (PO Box 789), Newport, NC 28570 would be most appreciated. Please memo the checks to: HFH Homebuilding in Carteret County.

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