Monday, February 28, 2022
Fork Union Military Academy and the Fork Union community is sad to announce the passing of FUMA legend William "Bill" Miller on Thursday, February 24, 2022. Bill, a 1952 alumnus, was born on February 27, 1934, the youngest child and only boy of the late Burton Kindt and Frieda Koch Miller of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
As a college freshman on December 26, 1953, Bill married his high school sweetheart Geraldine “Jell” Mark, and the couple lived in Charlottesville, Virginia until his graduation from the University of Virginia in 1958. Following graduation, Bill and Jell moved to Fork Union, Virginia, where he taught Algebra I and 2, and became the head postgraduate basketball coach at Fork Union Military Academy. He led the postgraduate program for 13 years and then served as the Assistant Athletic Director, a position he held until his retirement in 1997.
At Fork Union, Bill and Jell not only created a loving family, but were instrumental in creating a tight-knit community of colleagues and families that added fulfillment to their lives. Bill recruited and mentored countless Fork Union cadets in athletics and academics, many of them from his beloved Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania. Bill took his role as a mentor, coach, and teacher to Fork Union cadets and members of the Fork Union community as a privilege.
Bill was an excellent athlete. He graduated from Bethlehem High School, currently known as Liberty High School, in 1952, having lettered in basketball, baseball, soccer and football. As a high school senior, he was named to the First Team All-East Pennsylvania League Team, won the Bethlehem Boy’s Club Athlete of the Year award, and was named to the United Press and the Associated Press First Team All-State Pennsylvania Basketball Teams. He also recorded a perfect game while on the diamond as a left-handed pitcher in baseball.
Following graduation, Bill accepted a basketball scholarship to Villanova University. Unhappy there, he left Philadelphia in November of 1952 before his freshman basketball season began, and through a Bethlehem High School friend, he landed at Fork Union Military Academy – sight unseen – in time to play on the postgraduate team. At FUMA, he made the First Team All-Military Virginia team and head coach Bus Male recruited and signed him to play basketball at the University of Virginia. At UVa, Bill was a three-year starter at point guard, playing as a sophomore with famed Buzzy Wilkinson. As a pass-first point guard, Bill, along with scorer Buzzy, made a great combination, and they became lifelong friends. Bill ended his Cavalier career with scoring 949 points in 70 games over three seasons, was the team captain his senior year, and earned Second Team All-ACC Tournament Team honors in 1956 and 1957. He was credited with the first triple-double in ACC history on Feb 1, 1955, scoring 11 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing out 10 assists, in a 98-91 loss to No. 6-ranked NC State. Bill also lettered in baseball for two years and soccer for one year at UVa.
Bill was inducted in the Lehigh Valley Basketball Hall of Fame in 1979, the Liberty High School Sports Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Fork Union Military Academy Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.
Bill and Jell were married for 66 years until her passing in 2020. He is survived by his four children, daughter Patricia (John) Shuman of Fork Union, VA; daughter Kathleen (Jeffrey) Warn of Virginia Beach, VA; son William, Jr. “Billy” (Chimee) Miller of Arlington, VA; and son, Michael (Michelle) Miller of Washington, DC. He is also survived by nine grandchildren who loved their “Dee Dee” so very much: Elizabeth, Ryan (Meredith), Kelly (Reginald), Mark, Alex, Kaitlin, Anu, Zoe, and Riley. Three great-grandchildren, Clark, Keizer and Mikya, also survive him, as well as his sisters Betty McAndrew and Grace Tertusek of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and their children.
The family would like to acknowledge and thank Dr. and Mrs. Randall Bashore for their exceptional care and friendship throughout the years, along with wonderful caregivers Angela Miller, Jasmyn Johnston, Bianca Dudley, Carolyn Woodson, Megan Miller, Wendy Woodward, Bonnie Nicholson, Natarisha Ware, and Jackie Finchem, all of whom treated him with love and kindness. The family also wishes to acknowledge the staffs at Morningside of Charlottesville and Martha Jefferson House.
A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, March 12, 2022, at 1:00 PM at the Wicker Chapel of Fork Union Military Academy, followed by a reception in the Thomas Gymnasium on Fork Union Military Academy’s campus: 4744 James Madison HWY, Fork Union, VA 23055. Donations in Bill’s name may be made to Fork Union Military Academy’s Athletic Department: ATTN AD Club, 4744 James Madison HWY, Fork Union, VA 23055.