William J. Miller, Jr. Age 101, retired Executive Director of the Delaware River and Bay Authority died on Tuesday, January 22, 2019 in Pinnacle, Smyrna, DE surrounded with love by his family.
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A native of Delaware, Mr. Miller was born in Wilmington on February 5, 1917. He attended grade school at the St. Thomas parish school in Wilmington and graduated from the Wilmington High School, then located on Delaware Avenue. He was one of about 549 students in the 1935 graduating class.
At the age of 19, Mr. Miller obtained employment with the Delaware State Highway Department in New Castle County and enrolled at the Evening College of Drexel University in Philadelphia, then called Drexel Institute of Technology to study Civil Engineering. In 1942 at the beginning of World War II, he received a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers, where he served for four years in the Army. More than two years were spent in the Aleutian Islands in Dutch Harbor, Adak, Ummak, and Kiska Islands.
Returning from service in 1946, Bill rejoined the Highway Department and was promoted and transferred to the main office in Dover as the Traffic and Planning Engineer. Concurrently, he re-enrolled at Drexel and received his Engineering Degree.
In 1961, he was selected as the Director of Operations of the State Highway Department and also of the Delaware River Crossing Division which supervised the activities of the Delaware Memorial Bridge, which was completed in 1951.
On January 1, 1964, Mr. Miller was selected as the first Executive Director of the newly formed Delaware River and Bay Authority, a bi-state agency between Delaware and New Jersey. In this capacity, he supervised and directed the design, construction, and operation of the twin span Delaware Memorial Bridge and the new Cape May-Lewes Ferry systems.
Professional Activities include:
Chairman, Delaware Motor Club, AAA
Member, American Road Builders Association
Member, Board of Directors, Delaware Safety Council
Member, Board of Directors, Greater Wilmington Convention and Visitors Bureau
Member, Board of Directors, International Road Federation
Member, Board of Directors, Keystone Automobile Club
Member, Board of Directors, Star States and Wilmington Savings fund Society
Past President, Blood Bank of Delaware
Past President, Delaware Academy of Science
Past President, International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association, Inc.
Registered Land Surveyor, Delaware
Professional Affiliations include:
Fellow, American society of Civil Engineers
Fellow, Institute of Traffic Engineers
Member, National Society of Professional Engineers
Past President, Kent-Sussex Chapter, Delaware Society of Professional Engineers
Past President, Mid Atlantic Section, Institute of Traffic Engineers
Past President, Delaware Section, American Society of Civil Engineers
Past President, Delaware Society of Professional Engineers
Honors include: 1967 Honor Man of the Year Award, Drexel University and 1968 Outstanding Professional Engineer of the Year, Delaware Society of Professional Engineers
Mr. Miller served under three Presidents of the University of Delaware as chairman of the College of Marine Studies Advisory Committee. After retiring from the Delaware River and Bay Authority, he was elected as the 1993 Man of the Year by the American Society of Highway Engineers. In 1999, Bill was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Delaware Society of Highway Engineers.
Mr. Miller was the first Chairman of the Council of the Laity of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington and served on the Bishop’s Pastoral Commission and on the Diocese Real Estate Committee. He was a trustee for Holy Cross Church Parish in Dover and as the Steering Committee for the newly constructed church in Dover.
Mr. Miller wrote “Crossing the Delaware – The Delaware Memorial Bridge,” the story of the planning, construction, and operation of the twin spans. He also wrote “Crossing the Delaware – A Ferry Tale,” the story of the planning, construction, and operation of the Cape May-Lewes Ferry. Additionally, Mr. Miller wrote a two section article in the 2002 Delaware History for the Historical Society of Delaware entitled, “Stories of my early life in Wilmington.”
William Miller was preceded in death by his wife of 75 years, H. Virginia Miller (Hughes). Survived by four children, Mary Anne Miller (husband, Warren Hensley) of Dover, Judith Ellen Rigby (husband, Reese) of Dover, Sarah Louise Miranda (husband, William) of Deltona, FL, and William J. Miller, III (wife, Jacqueline) of Saratoga Springs, NY. He also had six grandsons and one great granddaughter, and one great-grandson.
A Mass of Christian burial will be held at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Dover on Tuesday, January 29, 2019 at 12:00PM, preceded by a viewing at the church at 10:30AM. Burial arrangements will be made by Ambruso Funeral Directors. In lieu of flowers contributions may be sent to (scholarship fund) or Holy Cross Catholic Church.