Sept. 12, 1922 – March 26, 2013
Services for George Henry Miller of Elma, a former U.S. Marine who received a Purple Heart for his service in the Pacific during World War II, will be at 10 a.m. Saturday in Paul A. Kloc Blossom Chapels, 4680 Clinton St., West Seneca.
Mr. Miller died March 26 after a brief illness at his home in Gibsonia, Pa. He was 90.
A longtime resident of Elma, Mr. Miller and his wife of 64 years, the former Ruth L. Johnston, moved to Gibsonia in late 2012.
Mr. Miller served from March 21, 1942, to April 1, 1946, as a corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was a member of the 5th and 14th Defense battalions and operated 40 mm anti-aircraft artillery, according to his daughter Susan A. Fortham of Gibsonia.
“He was one of the first reinforcements sent to Guadalcanal,” said Fortham. “Dad earned his Purple Heart after he was injured by friendly fire on Tulagi, a small island in the Solomon Islands.”
In 1982, Mr. Miller began attending reunions of World War II veterans held in cities throughout the country, recalled Fortham, who took her father to the last reunion in Quantico, Va., in 2009.
“It became increasingly difficult for my father and other vets from World War II to travel,” Fortham said. “That year they decided it would be their last reunion. It was bittersweet.”
Throughout the years, the United States flag held special significance for Mr. Miller, according to Fortham, who recalled her father teaching schoolchildren about the proper handling of the flag.
Mr. Miller was credited in May 2009 for his work on securing a flagpole for the Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park Museum, where his uniform was once displayed.
An Elma resident for 60 years, he was active in the Elma Senior Citizens Center and Elma Post 5861, Veterans of Foreign Wars. He was a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church in East Aurora.
Born in Dover, Pa., Mr. Miller studied engineering at Penn State University. He moved to the Buffalo area in the early 1950s and worked as a sales engineer from 1952 to 1992 for Goergen-Mackwirth Co., a custom metal fabrication firm that opened here in 1916.
He was a member of the National Rifle Association and Niagara Frontier Detachment 239, Marine Corps League.
In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Miller is survived by a son, George “Art” Miller, and two sisters, Pauline Rhinehart and Ruth Lehr.