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Memorial-Miller, Sr., James R.
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James R. Miller, Sr.
August 22, 1910 – July 27, 1975  

JUDGE SHURE: Mr. Sheehan. 

MR. SHEEHAN: In respect to the memory of James R. Miller, Sr., I call on R. Edwin Brown. 

MR. BROWN: Mr. Sheehan, may it please the Court, I rise with a deep feeling of personal sorrow to announce to your Honors the death on July 27, 1975, of James R. Miller, Esquire, a member of the Bar of Montgomery County, Maryland, and the Maryland Court of Appeals. 

The Bench and Bar of Maryland knew James R. Miller as one of the keenest, analytical and thorough lawyers ever to practice in the Courts of this State. He was an able and conscientious student, a thorough and meticulous digester of any complex factual problem, and a tenacious advocate of the greatest persuasion. He possessed a tremendous capacity to work and had the equal capacity to enjoy himself. He knew life and knew how to live it. 

James R. Miller was born at Catonsville, Maryland, on August 22, 1910. 

At the age of 21, he joined the State Police Department; promotions came rapidly. He was the youngest trooper in the State in both age and years of service to attain the rank of lieutenant. Everything that Jim did, he did well. It has been reported that during his tenure as a State trooper, he conducted more raids and destroyed more gambling paraphernalia than any trooper before or since. 

It was my privilege and pleasure to first become acquainted with James R. Miller, and his widow, Lee Chiswell Miller, when the three of us enrolled at the Southeastern University Law School in Washington, D. C., for the fall semester of 1938. We attended law school together for three years and during that period I learned to know Jim and Lee as true friends. In the same class we were privileged to have, among others, the Honorable Walter H. Moorman, a retired member of this Bench; The Honorable Roscoe H. Parker, a recent retired member of the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County, Maryland; and The Honorable Joseph M. Mathias, Chief Administrative Judge of this, the Sixth Circuit. 

While rising in the ranks as a State trooper, Jim Miller was, at the same time, earning a Reserve Commission in the United States Marine Corps, and found the time to keep up his Commission while working as a trooper and attending law school. 

About the time of our graduation from law school, in June, 1941, the country was rapidly becoming enrolled in World War II, and in October, 1942, Jim was called to service. The Marshal Islands campaign left him unscathed, but in Saipan a bullet hit his spine. He was hospitalized at Bethesda Naval Medical Center for approximately 14 months. He received Purple Heart and Silver Star Citations. On October 1, 1945, he transferred to retired list as Major. When he entered the hospital, he was paralyzed from the waist down and unable to walk. My friend, Dr. Charles H. Conly, a distinguished physician, practicing in Frederick County, was stationed at the Bethesda Naval Hospital while Jim was there. He has told me on more than one occasion that Jim had to learn to walk a second time under the most difficult and severe conditions; that every time he fell, he would get back on his feet with more determination to walk again, and that he was the most courageous patient he had ever seen. 

Shortly thereafter, he opened a law office in the Fire Department Building, in Rockville, in partnership with his wife, under the firm name of Miller and Miller. 

James R. Miller was a forceful and gifted advocate. In a law suit, if he had a choice between the law and the facts, he would invariably choose the facts, believing that if the facts and equities were with his client, that the law would provide the right answer. He was a staunch advocate of personal and property rights. He never hesitated to challenge the Government or to “take on City Hall.” The caliber of his work will stand as a beacon of light to those following him. As a general practitioner, he was a specialist in all he undertook. He was equally at ease and competent in defense of criminal causes, in Equity or at Law, and whether working in contract or in tort. He was an astute business lawyer, exceptionally well informed in matters of real estate dealing with conveying, leases, values, zoning, assessment and eminent domain. 

On May 1, 1949, at the age of 38, he was appointed Trial Magistrate for Montgomery County, at Bethesda, and served a two year term. 

He was a member of the Bar Association of Montgomery County, the Maryland Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and was licensed to practice before the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States. As a member of the Montgomery County and Maryland Bar Associations, he served as Chairman of the Committee on Judicial Selections of Montgomery County Association; was chairman of a special committee to study eligibility of attorneys to practice before the Court of Appeals of Maryland; and was chairman of the Administrative Law Committee of the Maryland Bar Association. 

He was a member of the American Legion Post 105, and served as its Commander. He was also a member of the Department of Maryland V. F. W. Post 2953. 

At various times, during his career, he served on the Traffic and Transportation Advisory Committee of the City of Rockville; Local Board of Selective Commission, at Bethesda; Board of Trustees of Landon School; Board of Trustees of Suburban Hospital, and was a member of the Special Gifts Committee of the Hospital Building Fund; the Board of Trustees of Montgomery County Society for Crippled Children and Adults, Inc., and served as Co-Chairman of the Building Fund committee; and at the time of his death was a member of the Board of Directors of the Bank of Bethesda. 

In June, 1956, Jim’s son, James R. Miller, Jr., joined the law firm, where he actively practiced law until his appointment on November 16, 1970, as Associate Judge of the U. S. District Court of Maryland. 

In 1964 Jim and Lee Miller moved their residence to a beautiful waterfront location at Galesville, in Anne Arundel County, Md., and gradually entered semi-retirement from the law practice, commuting to Rockville one or two days a week. While residing at Galesville, Jim joined the West River Sailing Club, and became an avid and accomplished yachtsman, competing in many contests and sailing events. He thoroughly mastered the art of sailing and the art of navigation, and during that stage of his life took many extended cruises from Maryland South to Florida and the Islands. 

About 1971, Jim sold his residence at Galesville, and moved to a beautiful point on the navigable waters of Leadenham Creek, a tributary of the Chop Tank River, in Talbot County, Maryland. There he remodeled and constructed, pursuant to the architectural plans drafted by his son, Frederick D. Miller, an architect practicing his profession here in Rockville, a beautiful, pleasing comfortable and convenient waterfront estate. At the time of his death he was looking forward to the purchase of a power yacht with extended off shore cruising capabilities. 

James R. Miller, a man of many and varied talents, after taking up residence on the Eastern Shore, in addition to becoming an experienced yachtsman, also became an avid and accomplished horticulturist, spending many hours in his greenhouse and in the propagation of many species of plants and shrubbery. 

James R. Miller was a true conservative, always a defender of personal and property rights against encroachment by Government authority. He served his country and this Bar with honor and distinction. He was truly a great lawyer. 

And now, your Honors, on behalf of the Bar of this State and of this Court, and on my behalf as a personal friend of that distinguished lawyer, I respectfully move that a minute of these proceedings be entered upon the records of this Court in commemoration of James R. Miller, Esquire, in whose honor we meet, and I move this Honorable Court when it stands adjourned, stand adjourned in his memory. 

R. Edwin Brown


JUDGE SHURE: Thank you, Mr. Brown, and your motion will be granted on behalf of Jim and all the others speaking today. Judge Mathias will respond for the Court. 

JUDGE MATHIAS: Ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank Mr. Brown for his excellent testimonial to a man admired, respected and emulated as a member of this Bar. 

Mr. Brown knew Jim Miller as I did from the time we were class mates in high school and that’s been more than thirty-five years ago. Like Mr. Brown, I knew of Jim’s valor in Saipan and of the terrible wound he received there that impaired his health for the rest of his life. But by courage and determination in a very few years after the end of World War II he became one of the leading attorneys in this county. He was thorough in his preparation for trial, and he represented his clients with vigor and with uncommon success. 

The Court recognizes the presence of Jim Miller’s son, James R. Miller, Jr., a distinguished member of the U. S. District Court sitting in Baltimore. We recognize the presence of Mrs. Lee Miller. The Court extends its sympathy to Jim Miller and Mrs. Lee Miller and all the other members of the Miller family. The Court also wants to say it is an honor and a privilege to join in this tribute to the memory of Jim Miller who was a credit to his profession and whose life teaches us what can be accomplished where there is a will and the courage to carry it out.

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