Harold Goldsborough Miller was a distinguished military and civil servant, journalist and teacher.
He died July 27, 2012, at Abington Memorial Hospital in Montgomery County. He succumbed to cancer at the age of 93.
“Though we are devastated to be without him, we feel blessed to have had such a powerful force in our lives, someone who instilled in each of us the importance of education, service, and devotion to God and family,” said Miller’s daughter, attorney Consuelo Miller of Chicago.
He was born to the late Watson and Anna Miller in Philadelphia on Aug. 25, 1918. Miller spent his early years in Philadelphia and attended Overbrook High School. Upon graduation in 1937, Miller went on to Wilberforce University graduating with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1941.
While at Wilberforce, Miller was a member of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corp (ROTC), receiving a commission as second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserves upon graduation. His interest in the military was sparked by his first professor of military science, the then Col. Benjamin O. Davis Sr., who later became the first African-American general in the U.S. Army.
Immediately after graduation, Miller was ordered to active duty with the 366th Infantry Regiment at Ft. Devens, Mass. He served there until he became disabled in 1944. After eight months in an Army hospital he was retired from active duty in 1945. While still in the service Miller married his childhood sweetheart and fellow East Calvary M.E. Church (now Tindley temple U.M. Church) member, Consuelo “Connie” Dale. In addition to their daughter, they had a son, Harvey. Connie died in 1991.
Miller went to work for The Philadelphia Independent newspaper. Upon leaving the Independent, he became a caseworker with the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare. Two years later he transferred to the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole from which he retired after 32 years of service. He became the agency’s first Black district director and regional director in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He was a hearing examiner when he retired in 1979.
Miller took graduate courses at the University of Pennsylvania and Rutgers University. He also completed the Administrative Law Judges’ seminar at George Washington University School of Law.
From 1969 until 1979, Miller was an instructor in criminal justice at Temple University and a regular lecturer at Villanova University. He served as president of the Pennsylvania Association of Probation, Parole and Corrections and was the first African American to serve as president of the Middle Atlantic States Correctional Association. In 1988 he authored the 50 Year History of the Association and in 1998 was named the first president emeritus in the 60 year history of the association.
Always active in community affairs, Miller was a charter member and the first president of the Men’s Social Service Organization at the Krams Avenue branch of the Salvation Army. He was later given an award by that organization for his service. He served as district commissioner of the William Penn District, Boy Scouts of America and later served on the troop committee at St. Andrews in the Field Episcopal Church. He was also a member of the Philadelphia Seminar, the Pennsylvania Association of Retired State Employees, and the Military Officers Association of America.
He was a long time member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., joining Upsilon Chapter on Dec. 10, 1939, while at Wilberforce University. After returning to Philadelphia he became active with Mu Omega Chapter which presented him with a Founders Award in recognition of his service to the fraternity and the community. He also received an award from the Leadership Conference of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity in recognition of more than 70 years of service to the fraternity.
Miller became active with the Wilberforce University Alumni Association as soon as he graduated, and was a co-founder of the Philadelphia Chapter in 1945. He held many offices in the chapter and was given the Distinguished Service Award by both the local chapter and the National Alumni Association. He spearheaded a drive which culminated in the establishment of the Class of ’41 Endowed Scholarship Fund at Wilberforce and in 1999 he was inducted into the National Alumni Hall of Fame. In 2000, he was given the James E. Stamps Award by the Philadelphia Inter-Alumni Council of UNCF and the United Negro College Fund in recognition of his service to the Philadelphia community and his alumni.
“The zest he had for life and the way he lived each day to the fullest is a legacy that will live on for generations,” says Consuelo.
With a passion for travel, Miller visited Bermuda, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, many of the Caribbean Islands, Europe, Africa, South America, Canada, Hawaii, Alaska and most of the U.S. Additionally, he cruised to several other locales including the Mediterranean.
On July 7, 2001, his long-time friend, Genester Nix Wilson, joined Miller in holy matrimony.
In addition to his wife and children, Miller is survived by a daughter-in-law, Alvania Miller; four granddaughters, Heather Ram, Alexis Williams-Currie, Kristen Hatcher and Tory Harris; seven great-grandchildren; three grandsons-in-law; four stepchildren, Dr. Genester Wilson-King, the Reverends John S. Wilson Jr. and Lucas Wilson, and Adrienne Hubbard; their spouses and other relatives and friends.
A memorial service will be held August 6 at 11 a.m. at the Second Baptist Church of Germantown, 6459 Germantown Avenue.
Nix and Nix Funeral Home handled the arrangements.