A Farewell to Joe Miller, veteran and true friend to so many

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"I didn't want to do it this way, but there are too many friends and relatives to notify individually, to say farewell. Tuesday, I had a final appointment with my Oncologist. I asked 'up front" what kind of time I had left? The answer was six months or less. (Diagnosis was Cancer of the Abdominal Cavity.) The past three months of treatments and extraneous doctor appointments with tests, etc. kept me from posting here in FB. So many of my Brothers in Law Enforcement and the Marine Corps have preceded me into Heaven, along with My Son, Brian Miller, I know the welcoming there will be as good as my Recent Honor Flight here in Orlando. My only regret in life is having to leave my wonderful wife, Pat. She has been my rock through all the time of illness. Goodbye and God Bless, you all."

Those were the words that splashed across my screen, the morning of January 24, 2019. I cried. It was unfair. How do you respond? But, I had to say something to let him know how much he meant to me.

“Oh Joe. I don't even know where to begin or end. At a loss for words right now, as I'm sure you have felt over the last several months. You've been such a kind, dear friend and I know I shall miss the hell out of you. You have always supported me and my WWII research and have helped me spread the news and keep their memories alive. Now I guess it's my turn to keep your spirit alive and I shall be more than glad to do so. So as you reach your destination, I shall be looking up to see you in that great Corsair in the skies. Love you always, Marion”

However, I didn't expect to be notified of his passing, a mere nineteen days later.

Even though Joe and I never met in person, we became steadfast friends. He was a true joy, and totally in love with his wife (and best friend) of many decades. He was always smiling, and it radiated in his words. His FB intro stated, "Just an Old Guy who is very fortunate to have a great wife for 50 plus years and lots of friends." You couldn't help but love him, and you knew why he had a multitude of friends.

He appreciated the work I did with WWII veterans, and was always happy to share my research with others. He was like a proud father. It would make me smile and sometimes it even made me shed a tear. We truly bonded when he learned of my love of Corsairs (the famous WWII aircraft with gull wings). That's when I discovered he actually flew those beauties (he graduated from the Marine Corps boot camp in 1954).

Posing with his Corsair
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Farewell my dear friend. I will always think of you as Corsair Joe!


Proud Daughter said…
Obituary for Joseph Paul Miller

Joseph P. Miller, Jr. 82, of Sanford, FL passed away peacefully on Monday, February 11, 2019 at his home.

He was born in Detroit, Michigan to Joseph P. and Mildred A. Miller-Thorp. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Francis and son Brian J. Miller.

He lived most of his life in Wilmington, Delaware and moved to Central Florida in 2007, eventually settling in Sanford. He was known to many as “Doc” Miller, the name bestowed upon him by his third-grade teacher which stuck with him into adulthood. He attended Salesianum High School in Wilmington but cut his education short to enter the work force. He later attended and graduated from Widener University (Brandywine College) with an A.S. Degree in Criminal Justice.

“Doc” served his country in the United States Marine Corps during the Korean War with Marine Fighter Squadron VMA 223 as a radio/radar technician.

He retired from the Wilmington Police Department in Delaware in 1984 where he served the community in the patrol and detective divisions. During his career in Law Enforcement, he received many official departmental commendations and letters from both the public and private sector.

He was a “jack of all trades” from automobiles to plumbing, carpentry, electrical and masonry work. A master of none, but proficient in all.

He leaves behind his loving wife, Pat of 52 years, a daughter Teri (Jonathan) Simpson, his grandson Jameson Miller Simpson, granddaughter Jessica Miller (CJ Roberts) and his great granddaughter Madelyn Rose Roberts.

In lieu of flowers, donations would be appreciated to the Honor Flight of Central Florida, 1170 Tree Swallow Drive, Winter Springs, FL 32708 or The Picnic Project, P.O. Box 2092, Sanford, FL 32772.

A memorial service will be held on February 21, 2019 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm at DeGusipe Funeral Home, 905 Laurel Avenue, Sanford, FL 32771. A short service will be held on February 22, 2019 at 9:30am at the Cape Canaveral National Cemetery, 5525 U.S. Highway 1, North, Mims, FL 32754 and will include a 21-gun salute. All are welcome to both.

A special thank you to the people at Vitas Hospice for their loving care and support during his final days.

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