In loving memory of Richard George Miller who sadly passed away on 18th April 2020
Richard George Miller, generally known as Dick but also as Richie within the family, was born on 10 December 1933, the only child of Alfred William George Miller and Mildred Audrey Miller (nee Hill). His father was from Brentwood and worked in the catering industry, latterly as head of the kitchens at Warley Hospital, whereas his mother worked in retail shops in the town: she was from a large family in Ingatestone, some of whom still live locally.
Leaving school in Brentwood, Dick’s first job was as a mechanic at the Hensmans garage in Brook Street, which was a Ford dealer. He retained a close interest in cars throughout his life, always doing his own minor maintenance and he was proud of the “Ford Mechanic works here” sign he erected in his garage. His passion for cars was reflected in his close interest in the Formula One championship, avidly watching every race.
At the age of 16, he obtained a junior position with the Chase Manhattan Bank in the City. In a career spanning over 40 years, Dick rose to the rank of Vice President and undertook a number of roles including head of the branch in Copenhagen in 1976 and two years at head office in New York from 1979 to 1981, leading an operational redesign project. Dick was always proud of the people who worked for him and was tireless in his support of women in the workplace: in setting up the NY Treasury Operations team, he appointed women to the manager roles, citing that he felt women made far better managers than men. One of his final roles was the sad task of supporting staff and families of staff who lost loved ones in the Clapham Rail disaster and Lockerbie bombing. Dick lost his very close friend, Ray Falcini, at Clapham, which made this role so personally tragic and also allowed him to demonstrate the deep commitment that he had to the support of others.
The long career in an American bank and living in the States for two years no doubt fuelled his interest in the USA and he spent a number of happy holidays in North America before and after retirement.
During his time with the bank, Dick undertook his National Service with the Royal Air Force, working as an armourer on the early jet fighters at bases in Suffolk. He was deployed to assist with the terrible east coast floods in 1953 and often told the story of how he and his friends were drunk for a week (he alleged) after getting hold of rather too much Navy-strength rum! He was very proud of his RAF service and, after retirement, often collected for the Royal British Legion in Ingatestone High Street.
In 1956 Dick met Dawn Maynard, who worked for an insurance company in the City, through a mutual friend – the first meeting was at a swimming pool in The Angel and they realised that they were both from Brentwood. They married in August 1958, living initially at Pilgrims Hatch before moving to Hook End, Blackmore. Their son, Ian, was born in 1965 and their daughter, Ann, the following year. Dick was intensely proud of his children and all that they achieved. He was a generous and loving father and father-in-law, and was delighted when a granddaughter, Jasmine, was born to Ann in 2000.
The family moved to The Furlongs in Ingatestone in 1969 and to Willow Green in 1981. They still have a picture of Dick as a young boy in a yellow suit running through fields where Willow Green was later built.
Dick had taken up golfing when in the States and for twenty years or more was an enthusiastic member at Bentley Golf Club. Rocky, the family’s beloved West Highland White terrier, was subjected to many visits to playing fields for golf shot practice. When injury forced Dick to give up golf, he took up crown green bowls and bowled for several seasons with the Ingatestone Bowling Club. He was also a faithful member of the Probus Club of Ingatestone and a regular attender with Dawn at meetings of the Ingatestone and Fryerning Historical and Archaeological Society
Dick and Dawn celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary in 2018 and were delighted to receive a card from Her Majesty The Queen and a personal visit from the then Mayor of Brentwood Borough Council. Unfortunately, Dick’s health had begun to decline significantly in 2014 and he had been able to stay at home only as a result of the tender and loving care from Dawn for over four years. In November 2018, Dick moved to Ardtully Retirement Residence where Dawn visited him virtually every day and until recently she was still able to take him out for short trips to the cafes of the district. He enjoyed making new friends at Ardtully with the other residents and staff, some of whom he regarded as family, and he was deeply grateful for the care and enrichment provided.
Dick died at the age of 86 on 18 April 2020 at Bardfield Ward, Broomfield Hospital as a result of coronavirus and associated complications. In line with his wishes, donations in his memory may be made to the Royal Air Forces Association.