May 4, 1926 – Feb. 22, 2013

E. William Miller, a World War II veteran whose name became synonymous with the Town of Tonawanda’s many recreational offerings, died Friday in McCauley Residence, in the town. He was 86.

Mr. Miller, a longtime member of the Tonawanda Town Board, was born in Buffalo and moved with his family from Lafayette Avenue to Kenmore in the 1930s.

He attended Lindbergh Elementary School and graduated from the newly completed Kenmore High School in 1944.

He was drafted into the Army and fought in Belgium, France and Germany and was a staff sergeant when discharged in 1946.

Mr. Miller met his future wife, Barbara F. Frost, on his first summer back from the war, at Crystal Beach, Ont., and they married in 1950.

After he graduated from Hobart College in 1951, the couple moved to Dunkirk, where Mr. Miller took a job with New York Telephone Co. installing telephone poles throughout the Southern Tier. The couple moved back to the Buffalo area in 1956 and in 1958 built their first and only home, a single-family residence on Abbington Avenue in the town, where they raised three children.

In the 1970s, Mr. Miller became involved in local politics, won election to the Town Board and was re-elected over the next 30 years. He was deputy town supervisor when he retired in 2002.

Known as “Mr. Recreation” to his peers, Mr. Miller established a state-recognized parks and recreation department that was known for progressive facilities and programs. He was known for finding creative ways to bring private-caliber recreational offerings to the town, including two golf courses, lighted baseball fields, two covered ice arenas, the Aquatic and Fitness Center, Senior Citizens Center on Ensminger Road, boat docks at the foot of Sheridan Drive and the Paddock Golf Dome.

After working for the telephone company, he was employed in the credit department at National Gypsum and also was an administrator at several hospitals, including Erie County Medical Center, Millard Fillmore, Deaconess and Lockport.

He was a lifelong member of Deerhurst Presbyterian Church, a founding member and longtime supporter of the Ken-Ton YMCA and a longtime member of the Ken-Ton Republican Party.

His wife of 56 years died 2006.

Survivors include a daughter, Lynda Vandermeer; and a son, Gary.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Tuesday in Deerhurst Presbyterian Church, 257 Deerhurst Park Blvd., Town of Tonawanda.