Edward John Miller was born in Cincinnati, Ohio to Vera and Edward Miller. He was the youngest of 6 children. He is survived by his wife Terri (Mueller) Miller, children Therese Miller, Ellen (Miller) Meeker, Mary Pat (Miller) Fuhring, and Jerry Miller. He was preceded in death by his children Edward Miller and Laurie (Miller) Mouré. He leaves 9 grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren, and 2 great great grandchildren.
Ed met Terri Mueller, the love of his life, in Cincinnati when they were just 16 and still in high school. They married three years later, on May 23, 1953. That’s 67 years of mutual love, work and adventure. One of Ed and Terri’s greatest passions was traveling. It probably started with Ed’s time overseas in the Navy, 1952-54. But the true extent of their emerging wanderlust became obvious in 1968 when Ed and Terri made the fateful decision to leave their East Coast homeland. They packed their brood of 6 lively children, aged 2 to 14, into a station wagon and drove across the country to Ed’s new job in Modesto. This ambitious move left all 8 Millers forever changed.
Ed and Terri were world travelers. It began with short trips with friends and relatives to Hawaii and Mexico. Before long, however, they were off on their own to England, Germany, Ireland, Africa, Australia, Sulawesi, Irian Jaya. Of all of the 50 or so countries they visited, they truly left their hearts in Nepal, returning there so many times their family lost count. They made lifelong friends in Nepal who were always welcome in Ed and Terri’s home in Modesto. Ed and his daughter Therese led mediation seminars in Kathmandu. Ed’s dearest Nepali adventure was trekking the Himalaya, especially his trips to Everest Base Camp, the Mustang region, and the Annapurna Circuit. When he came home from a trek, he immediately started planning the next one. Ed’s sons Ed Jr. and Jerry accompanied him on trips as did many of Ed’s closest friends. Nepal was the center of Ed’s universe.
Ed led the Human Resources Department at Tri Valley Growers from 1968 until he retired in 1995. The 1970s and 80s were turbulent times for labor relations. Cultural and economic clashes were common. The central California fruit canning industry was an active arena for these conflicts. Ed guided Tri-Valley Growers to many successful, non-traditional solutions to ease the friction. His vision of the workplace as both an economic engine and a cultural center, supporting families and individuals, gave people hope and security. During negotiations, Ed analyzed and considered all the different sides of conversations, then came up with solutions that helped everyone. He believed that agreements had to work for all parties. In his words, “principle-based agreements are the only lasting agreements.”
Ed’s many years in Personnel/HR and Industrial Relations, along with his PhD from Golden Gate University, made him well-suited for a second career in teaching and international development for many years after his retirement from Tri Valley. He taught management classes at Stanislaus State University. He reveled in talking with his students about their backgrounds and plans for the future. He generously guided many students through challenging times in their lives. Ed also combined his passions for teaching, travel, and peace-making, by collaborating in the development of community mediation programs in Sri Lanka, Guatemala, and Nepal.
Ed loved camping, backpacking, cross country skiing, and mountain climbing. He led many memorable trips with his kids and their rowdy friends. There was an unforgettable day trip to Yosemite with 15 teenagers crammed into the Dodge Caravan. How they all survived, we’ll never know! On backpack trips with Ed, everyone had the time of their lives and learned to love and respect Mother Nature. There was, however, a teeny downside if you happened to be backpacking with Ed on a Sunday morning. He could not resist singing “Church in the Wild Wood”. At the top of his lungs! The stellar jays in Emigrant Basin are still complaining!
Ed was an enthusiastic and dedicated runner. He was an active member of Modesto’s Shadowchase Running Club. He ran in countless races, from Davos, Switzerland to Death Valley, California. He was a hero and mentor to many fellow runners. He even ran the infamous Western States Endurance Run. He persevered to Mile 70. Think of that! Seventy miles from Squaw Valley up over the crest of the Sierra, through Foresthill, and almost all the way down the canyon to the American River! Even when he wasn’t running the race himself, he was tireless and dependable as a pacer and aid station worker.
Ed loved mountaineering, running, teaching, and traveling to be sure. But his real superpower was connecting with people. Someone once said that, to Ed, no one was a stranger; they were just friends he hadn’t met yet. He loved nothing more than getting to know people, listening to their stories, and tying their mutual experiences together. If you were lucky enough to go on a trip with Ed, you were lucky indeed!
Ed Miller will be missed by so many. We will always carry him in our hearts and memories.
A memorial gathering will be planned in the near future. Contact Ellen (Miller) Meeker at email@example.com for information.