Donald Miller

Donald J. Miller

Saturday, July 19th, 1930 - Wednesday, September 16th, 2020
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Donald J. Miller - A Life Well Led
Donald John Miller, born in Poughkeepsie, New York on July 19, 1930, passed into God’s embrace on September 16, 2020 at his home in Hyde Park, New York. He joined the love of his life, Jean, who died in 2013. He was predeceased by his parents, Emma Kaiser Jackson, his father, William Miller, sister, Mabel Touhey and brother, Clarence Miller. He formerly resided in Oakville and Morris, Conn., and in upstate New York in West Chazy and Plattsburgh.
Don is survived by his extensive family. He was the father of six children; Dona Murphy and husband Ken of Roxbury, Conn. , Gail Tagan and husband Tim, of Torrington, Conn., Bruce Miller of Torrington, Conn., Douglas (Duke) Miller and wife, Jane, of Hyde Park, New York, Kirk Miller of New York, and Jeff Miller and wife Sue, of Hyde Park, New York. His legacy included 14 grandchildren, nine great grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
Don spent most of his younger life in Poughkeepsie until joining the Navy in 1947. He spent three years on the Battleship Missouri (BB63). Due to a presidential order and the Korean War, he had to stay another year which he served on the USS Amphion and other assignments in Washington D.C. He was honorably discharged from the service in 1951 as a third-class lithographer, which became his trade for the next thirty-eight years. During his career in printing, he worked for twenty- three years for Hemingway Corp. in Waterbury Conn., starting as an apprentice, master printer and eventually General Manager of Production. After leaving Hemingway, he worked for Speed Offset which became Craftsman Litho.
Through a friend of a friend blind date, Don met Jean Sage, a nursing student at St. Luke’s School of Nursing in New York City. They were married in 1951 and spent the next sixty-two years together. They lived in Oakville, Conn. for thirty-seven years, and, with the addition of six children, became a family of eight. As more houses were built in the neighborhood, Don decided to move his family out “to the country” and settled in Morris. There he and Jean enjoyed the harvest of an enormous garden. Six children were joined by a barnyard collection of chickens, ducks, goats, geese and even a horse! Don served as a proud member of the Morris Fire Department.
After years of Sunday experiments, enjoying Ro’s pizza in Oakville and helping his friend Chick make pizza at his restaurant in Waterbury, Don opened a takeout pizza place at the Morris house. It was there that Don achieved his quest to make the perfect pizza. Don’s Pizza became a weekly trip for many people in the Morris area and a major family project as family members helped. He and Jean also catered local parties as well as both of their daughters’ weddings!
Don and Jean left Morris for Salt Point, New York, where they bought a tavern and went into the restaurant business full time with Don’s pizza still a specialty. Their sons pitched in to help. His natural cooking talent, love of people and gregarious personality made “Don’s” a success for twelve years. The couple then retired to upstate New York, settling in the Plattsburgh area, then later moved back to Duchess County to Hyde Park.
Being just an observer was never enough for Don. He was a member of the B.P.O.E. in Waterbury, Conn. and later, Plattsburgh Elks Lodge 621, Plattsburgh, New York where he served as Exalted Ruler. He and Jean attended many Elk Conventions. He joined the VFW Post 1418/Twin Bridges in Champlain, New York and served as Post Commander. He was also a lifetime member of the American Legion Post 769 in Chazy, New York and affiliated with Post 20 in Plattsburgh. He was able to get the Elks, Legion and the VFW to join forces to sponsor the Dictionary Project which provides hard copy dictionaries to third graders. He was a member of VFW Post 170 in Poughkeepsie.
With his penchant for entertaining and lifelong funny bone, he performed in local theater in Oakville and emceed many stags and parties. He was always quick with a joke and found humor in everything. It was not surprising that he loved to dance and did so at any opportunity.
Don’s other passion was fishing. He fished the Hudson River as a child, fished off the bow of the USS Missouri as a sailor and fished the Great Lakes during a camping trip with six children! He especially loved fishing off the Seven B’s in Point Judith, Rhode Island. Stream, lake, ocean, or pond, it did not matter. He always enjoyed the anticipation of that tug on the line.
Always looking to channel his creativity, he turned to woodworking and then, oil and watercolor painting landscapes of every kind. He also considered himself a “Macgyver” with an uncanny ability to fix the most hopeless breaks or rig up something to make things work better.
In July, his 90th birthday was celebrated “covid style” with a parade of firetrucks, police, VFW members, family, and friends through his apartment complex. He was, as always, the star of the show!
Don’s true grit was apparent as he faced his declining health with courage and determination. His caregivers marveled at his spirit and mental sharpness. He has truly been an inspiration to all.
Don’s family would like to thank all of those who have cared for him especially his home health care team from the VA at Castle Point, Dr. Rose and Nurse Jen, his devoted neighbors John, K.C., Betsy, Linda, Dick and Barbara. Special thanks to the caring staff of Hudson Valley Hospice who helped Don and family through an exceedingly difficult time.
Calling hours for Don will be held at the William G. Miller & Son Funeral Home, 371 Hooker Ave., Poughkeepsie, NY. From 3pm – 5pm on Thursday, September 24th, 2020. For more information or to leave an online condolence please go to
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent to the Hudson Valley Hospice Foundation, 80 Washington St. Suite 204, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601. Notate in Memory of Donald Miller on the memo line or visit
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Thursday, September 24th, 2020 | 3:00pm - 5:00pm
    Thursday, September 24th, 2020 3:00pm - 5:00pm
    Wm. G. Miller & Son F.H. ,Inc.
    371 Hooker Ave.
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Mary Ann Miller Barsotti

Posted at 11:29am
My Uncle Don taught me a little about where I came from...He and his wonderful family recognized me as a member of the Miller family. He was kind, giving, loving, funny, and when I spent some time with him I felt l had a family who cared about me. I will never forget his interest in me, and the time he gave me. He was a wonderful man who always cared about others. I will always remember him.

Jan couture

Posted at 09:26am
Condolences to your family. I was a third grade teacher and my students at Saranac Central School received dictionaries. They loved them! We looked up words, chose random words to use in sentences, and simply explored words and language. Dictionaries might be outmoded in today's world but my students were fans. One student even told me, 'this is the best book ever'. Things you don't think will matter, really do. Thank you Mr. Miller for enriching my students lives.

Barbara Atwood

Posted at 08:28am
To Gail & Family: so sorry for the loss of your a Dad. He lived a wonderful life. Prayers & Sympathy to your family.

Suzanne tagan

Posted at 04:07pm
You will be missed Grandpa/ Great Grandpa! Thank you for the memories ❤️
Prayers and healing thought to all of our family. We know you and Grandma will be watching over all of us.

Enid Sage-Clark

Posted at 02:44pm
God speed to Donnie. As Ernie Sage's children, we visited Bert and Lena as well as Donnie, Jean and family when traveling to Connecticut. Fond memories of the "country house" we visited as children❤ You are all in our thoughts and prayers.

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