James F. (Jim) Miller, 100, passed away Tuesday, Aug. 13, in Mesquite, Nevada. He was born June 14, 1919 in Lancaster, Ohio to William A. and Ethel (Clark) Miller. He was married to his hometown sweetheart, Jean Brenstuhl, in 1941.
He was a member of the Greatest Generation who, in his 100 years, had witnessed and experienced vast social, political, economic and technological change. He was widowed almost as long as he was married, retired almost as long as he was in the workforce, and navigated life’s changes adeptly and showed that one is never too old to try something new.
Jim grew up in Lancaster, Ohio, the eldest of three brothers, and came of age during the Great Depression. After high school graduation in 1937, he went to work in the glass-making industry, a prevalent enterprise in southern Ohio. Although he had achieved journeyman status in the machine-shop trade, immediately after Pearl Harbor Jim enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps. Upon rating as a pilot, he was assigned as flight instructor, progressed to flight commander and was promoted to instructor of flight instructors, flight standardization check pilot and 1st Lieutenant. He flew 9 different aircraft while in service. When VJ day came, Jim was training to be a B-29 commander; however, World War II ended before Jim was needed for overseas missions. He was chosen for the Nevada Honor Flight in 2014.
Jim attended The Ohio State University, obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry, Summa Cum Laude, in just 2 1/2 years with Phi Beta Kappa honors.
Jim spent most of his career at Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio, as a research chemist, senior research associate, and associate division chief working on such diverse projects as the growth of more perfect ruby crystals for laser use, improved processes for the extraction of chromium from ore—the manufacture of decontaminating agents, uses for rare-earth chemicals, and improvement of the lime/limestone scrubbing of power-plant stack gases. He holds six patents.
Widowed in 1985, Jim, then retired, moved to San Diego, CA. He served on the 1991-92 San Diego County (Watchdog) Grand Jury, was a volunteer poll worker for many years, and dedicated 17 years as a member of the El Cajon Police Department Senior Volunteer Patrol where he received many awards and honors. He moved to Sun City Mesquite in 2012 to be closer to family and to continue enjoying retirement with the lifestyle offered in Mesquite. Throughout his life, Jim also enjoyed wood-working, gardening, travel, shuffleboard, bocce ball, billiards and golf.
Jim is survived by his daughter and son-in-law Ellen M. and Donald D. Gilmore of Mesquite, Nevada. He is preceded in death by his wife, his parents, and his brothers, Clark R. Miller and William A. Miller Jr.
Jim’s family and friends celebrated his life this year with a 100th birthday party on June 14, 2019, therefore, no services are scheduled. The family invites you to leave a message or memory in their Guest Book at www.virginvalleymortuary.com.
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