Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Epilogue Thomas Stewart Miller

Tom Miller, a banker and lifelong outdoorsman, dies at 83

ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Miller spent his days behind a desk at a bank, helping customers set up trusts and estates.

As often as possible, he traded in his suits for an orange vest to hunt in the Ocala National Forest. Or fish in a succession of boats.

"I married him and a boat," said Betty Jean Miller, his wife and a former Times columnist. "Some worked, some didn't."

Mr. Miller, who lived on a robust scale despite two heart attacks 26 years apart, died Saturday at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg as the result of a stroke. He was 83.

A third-generation Floridian whose parents moved to St. Petersburg in 1895, Mr. Miller was born at Mound Park Hospital (now Bayfront) in 1930. Concerned about their son's predilection for boyish pranks, Albert and Lois Miller sent him off to a boarding school in Tennessee, where he blew up the science lab. The accident cost him most of the vision in one eye.

Between college and law school, he served two years in the Army Corps of Engineers. In 1954, he married Betty Jean Schoeppe. Over the years, Mr. Miller would co-own a real estate management company; move up the ranks at Florida National Bank; and spend 20 years in what eventually became NationsBank (now Bank of America) overseeing its court and probate department.

He suffered a serious heart attack at age 36. In 1973, seven years later, doctors had him wear a heart monitor for an extended period of time.

"It's called Watergate. You're being bugged," he told a co-worker who had asked about the device he was always carrying with wires coming out of his shirt. He chuckled when his kids called him Frankenstein, or staggered around the house doing "robot theater" performances.

While he watched his health, Mr. Miller never changed his active outdoor lifestyle. Eventually, he and his friends changed their hunting destinations to Idaho, Colorado and Montana.

"Those were good times, if you can picture four of us crowding into a small Dodge pickup truck and going into the hills hunting," said Dr. Norval Marr, 89, a friend since childhood.

The men hung their duck and deer and antelope in a garage for several days in cool temperatures, then butchered the meat and brought it home in suitcases.

He kept a rifle handy at home, too, and once warned a prowler that he had him "covered." The intruder turned out to be Charlie Crist, looking to put a sign in his friend's yard.

Mr. Miller and Betty Jean traveled widely. At home, he tinkered around the house or read, and found time to chair several civic organizations.

"He loved a good party, being with people," said Betty Jean Miller, 82. "But he really valued his time outside and the people who shared that kind of stuff with him."

Mr. Miller continued to fish until he could no longer climb into the boat.

Andrew Meacham can be reached at ameacham@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2248.

.Biography

Thomas Stewart Miller

Born: Aug. 30, 1930

Died: Oct. 26, 2013

Survivors: wife Betty Jean; daughters Dr. Katherine Bass and Rebecca Slater; three grandsons.

Service: 11 a.m. Saturday; St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 1200 Snell Isle Blvd. NE.

Tom Miller, a banker and lifelong outdoorsman, dies at 83 10/30/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 10:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Why did Debbie Wasserman Schultz keep paying tech expert suspected of stealing House computers?

    Blogs

    The following is from the Miami Herald:

  2. GOP senators blink on a big chance to repeal 'Obamacare'

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — After seven years of emphatic campaign promises, Senate Republicans demonstrated Wednesday they don't have the stomach to repeal "Obamacare" when it really counts, as the Senate voted 55-45 to reject legislation undoing major portions of Barack Obama's law without replacing it.

    U.S. Sen. Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) talks with reporters as he walks to the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday in Washington, DC. [Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]
  3. Rick Baker's debate answer revives painful St. Pete controversy

    Elections

    ST. PETERSBURG — Former Mayor Bill Foster fired one of his top administrators, Goliath Davis III, six years ago for disobeying an order to attend the funeral of a slain police officer.

    St. Petersburg police officers stand by two caskets before the beginning of the 2011 funeral services for Sgt. Thomas Baitinger and Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz at the First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg. [DIRK SHADD   |  Times]
  4. Plan your weekend July 28-30: Comic Con, Lady Antebellum, Margarita Wars, Tampa's Fourth Friday

    Events

    Plan your weekend

    Geek out

    Tampa Bay Comic Con: The fan convention returns to the Tampa Convention Center this weekend, bringing actors Val Kilmer, Kate Beckinsale, Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek's Lt. Uhura), Khary Payton (Ezekiel in The Walking Dead) and the …

    Ibri Day poses for a photo at opening day of the 2015 Tampa Bay Comic Con at the Tampa Convention Center. (Friday, July 31, 2015.) [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  5. Editorial: Trump assaults rule of law by attacking attorney general

    Editorials

    Jeff Sessions was a terrible choice for attorney general, and the policies he has pursued in his brief tenure — cracking down on immigrants, bullying sheriffs, prosecuting low-level offenders to the max — are counterproductive. But the stinging personal attacks President Donald Trump leveled at Sessions this …

    The stinging personal attacks President Donald Trump leveled at Attorney General Jess Sessions this week assault the integrity of the Department of Justice and the rule of law.