The Reverend Jay Arnold Miller, of Marion, died at the Oldorf Hospice House of Mercy on August 7, 2013, after losing his courageous battle with recurrent lymphoma. He was born in Mendon, NY, on November 24, 1929, the third of the three children of Robert and Ruth (Mathews) Miller. He was delivered at their farm home by his grandmother, the “midwife” of the neighborhood, as were his siblings and many contemporaries of that area.
He began his education in a one room schoolhouse under the tutelage of Miss Maggie Maitland in district #4, Mendon, NY. After graduating in 1946, from Honeoye Falls High School in NY, he attended Park College, now Park University, in Parkville, MO, graduating with the Class of 1950. He stayed in touch with many of the members of this class remembering the wonderful years he spent with them. His graduate studies took him to Princeton Seminary, from which he graduated with a BD in 1953. A year of his seminary training was spent in England where he developed a passionate regard for all things English. He returned twice more to England in later years for studies.
His first pastorate was a three-point field in northern Wisconsin which included Taylor County towns of Gilman, Hannibal, and Jump River. There he met Dixie Joiner of Gilman, who six years later in 1957, would become his wife of 55 years. His next charge was at the Presbyterian Church in Reedsburg, WI. He spent 7 years there and their first son, Mark Jay was adopted during this tenure.
His next call was to Pewaukee, WI, which became part of a parish of five churches including Zion, Jerusalem, Wales, Delafield, and Genesee. It was there that they adopted their only daughter Marcia Jean. Having served seven years with this arrangement, a second son Merrill John was born and Jay was called to serve the First Presbyterian church in Marion, IA, where he served for over twenty years. He retired in 1993, but continued to serve as interim pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Manchester and later in Vinton, IA, also filling vacant pulpits where needed in several other eastern Iowa communities. He became a presence in each of the communities in which he served.
While in retirement Jay and Dixie enjoyed wintering in Harlingen, TX, where he served with other pastors in a park ministry a total of ten seasons.
Reverend Jay is survived by his wife, Dixie; son Mark and fiancé Pam Hansen; daughter, Marcia Hunnicutt and partner Ron Dennis; son, Merrill and wife Rebecca Holdiman Miller; grandchildren, Nathan Hunnicutt, 23, Rice Miller, 13, Maxine Miller, 5, Maizie Miller, 10 months; and step grandchildren, family of Pam. He is further survived by a sister-in-law, Mary Lou Miller of Bloomfield NY; a sister-in-law, Mary Joiner of Gulf Shores AL; a brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Richard and Kaye Joiner of Black River Falls WI; and many treasured nieces, nephews and cousins. He is preceded in death by his parents; brother, Harwood; sister, June Cain; two nephews; and several cousins.
There will be a visitation from 3 PM to 7 PM on Friday August 9th at Murdoch Funeral Homes and Cremation Center in Marion. A memorial service for Reverend Miller will be held at 1 PM Saturday August 10th at First Presbyterian Church in Marion. The service will be conducted by the Reverend Dr. Howard B Chapman. Friends may also visit the family one hour prior to the service on Saturday at the Church. Burial will be at a later date.
A memorial fund has been established in Reverend Miller’s name.
The Miller family wishes to extend heartfelt thanks to those who participated in his care: doctors and nurses, aids and techs, pastors, consultants, and the innumerable friends who have supplied so many of his needs and those of his family, not only at this time but throughout their lives.