Joseph Thomas Miller Sr.

Published 12:28 am Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Joseph Thomas Miller Sr. died at the Hospice facility in Greenville, N.C., on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011. Mr. Miller was born Oct. 30, 1919, in Barre Plains, Mass., the last surviving child of 13 children of Frederick and Margaret Miller.

Joseph Thomas Miller Sr.

Mr. Miller graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Food Technology and Micro-Biology and a minor in Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts in 1941. Upon graduation, he was employed by Mr. Sterling Harris who later started the Blue Channel Corporation. He was employed by this company for 42 years, except for the time he served in the Navy during World War II.

He served in various capacities with the Blue Channel Corp. However, the position he most enjoyed and was proudest of was his position in Research & Development where, along with fellow food technologists in the company, the process of pasteurizing crab meat was improved. This helped make the company one of the first to can crab meat. In addition to the Harris Atlantic Brand of crab meat, Mr. Miller and others also developed she-crab soup, shrimp bisque, and crab cakes as well as deviled crab meat.

After he retired in 1983, Mr. Miller was appointed to various advisory boards for the North Carolina Seafood Industry by Gov. James Hunt and later by Gov. Mike Easley.

Mr. Miller married his first love, Claire Elizabeth Tyler, in the summer of 1942. They had a special relationship and were married for 55 years before her death in 1997. Mr. Miller was also preceded in death by a daughter, Claire Elizabeth Miller.

Surviving Mr. Miller are Joseph T. Miller Jr. and his wife Kaye of Virginia Beach, Va.; Michael A. Miller and his wife Teresa of Moncks Corner, S.C.; Kathleen S. Kastner and her good man, Chuck O’Connor of Port Townsend, Va.; James T. Miller and his wife, Denise of Granite Quarry, N.C., and Peter P. Miller of Marshallberg, N.C. Mr. Miller was blessed with 13 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. Mr. Miller also leaves behind his dear friend, Gladys Napora of Belhaven, N.C.

Mr. Miller was an avid duck hunter both in North Carolina and in South Carolina.

He began playing golf at the ripe old age of 48 and enjoyed playing with his four sons.  Mr. Miller loved to play bridge and cribbage and taught many of his children. He read two newspapers daily, completed crossword puzzles, and tended a garden until months before his passing. Most of all, Mr. Miller was the ultimate Boston Red Sox fan, and most every year you could hear him utter, “Wait until next year.” He worked hard, he played hard and he enjoyed life.

Mr. Miller was a member of Mother of Mercy Catholic Church from 1949 to 1959 and from 1973 until his death.

Visitation will be at Paul Funeral Home in Belhaven on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011, from 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.

On Friday, Sept. 16, 2011, a Rosary will be held at 6 p.m. followed by visitation from 6:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. at Paul Funeral Home & Crematory in Washington.

A funeral Mass will be at Mother of Mercy Catholic Church in Washington on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011, at 10 a.m. Burial will be at Belhaven Community Cemetery at 12:30 p.m. Mr. Miller’s grandchildren will serve as pallbearers. An Irish celebration in honor of Mr. Miller’s life will be hosted by the family at the Pantego Ruritan Building following the burial.

In lieu of flowers, please make memorials to the Mother of Mercy Catholic Church Building Fund, 112 W. Ninth St., Washington, NC 27889 or to Hospice of Greenville, P.O. Box 8489, Greenville, NC 27835-8489 or to the charity of your choice.

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Paul Funeral Home & Crematory of Washington is honored to serve the Miller family.