Jackson County Times

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Friday, June 11, 2010

Dr. Jack Miller, A Lifetime of Service To Graceville Community

Local Dentist practiced in Graceville for 57 years.
Testimonial by Sid Riley

A lot of people’s teeth in Graceville are a lot whiter, a lot straighter, and a lot healthier because of a lifetime of work by Dr. Jack Miller.  He practiced dentistry in the Graceville community for fifty seven years, while he simultaneously served the Lions Club and the First United Methodist Church for almost the same length of time.  He was also active in local and State Dental Associations, and donated his skills often for humanitarian programs.  He died peacefully last week at the age of 95.  The years of civic work donated by “Dr. Jack”, as he was affectionately called, helped meet the needs of thousands of Graceville youth and needy.  The years of service to his church helped his church meet the needs of the souls of many citizens.  His real legacy is the good he did while he lived.  He was one of those who always contributed to society…he was a “giver”, not a “taker”.
Jack Miller was born in Graceville, delivered by his father, Dr. R.L. (Lee) Miller, who practiced medicine in Graceville for sixty-three years.  Jack’s father provides another amazing story of service and devotion to community.  Their combined 120 years of service to the citizens of  Graceville is undoubtedly an unparalleled record.  At one point in the early years after “Dr. Jack set up his dental practice, he shared the same building with his physician father, Dr. Lee Miller.  The medical office was at one end of the building and the dental clinic was on the other end….and they shared the same waiting room.
Jack Miller attended school in Graceville, but he graduated from Georgia Military Academy in Atlanta.  He then attended the University of Florida and the University of Georgia before being accepted into the School of Dentistry at Loyola University in New Orleans.  After graduation WWII was raging, and he served as a Captain in the 185th Medical Dispensary Aviation Unit.  After the war ended he returned to Graceville and set up practice.
About this time he discovered a beautiful young woman from Graceville, named Hazel Woodham.  After a couple of dates there was no doubt in either of their minds that they were in love, so they soon wed.  As testament to the fact that whirlwind romances are risky, their marriage only lasted sixty years, one month and four days!   Hazel died in December of 2009          at the age of  86.
Hazel and Jack had four children, three daughters and one son.  Their daughters are Lina Henrickson, Lynne Hooper, and Leslie Polston.  Their son, Lee, is currently the Superintendent of Schools for Jackson County.
The TIMES spoke with one of “Dr. Jack’s” closest friends, Dr. Jerry Windsor who was minister at the First Baptist Church, which was across the street from the clinic on Drake Street.  Dr. Windsor had several notable comments to make regarding his dear friend.
“We saw each other every work day for over nine years,” Windsor stated.  “Our office windows faced each other, and we saw each other every day. He looked after our property while he was looking after his own.  On several occasions he helped inform us about things we needed to know.”
“I was in Lions with Dr. Jack, and he was absolutely the best hot dog salesman the club ever had,”  Dr. Windsor continued.  “For years the Lions raised money for youth scholarships by selling hot dogs out at the Outlet Mall.  Everyone knew Dr. Jack, so they would stop and talk and usually eat a hot dog while there visiting.  He was responsible for hundreds of dollars being raised for a good cause.”
“He was such a gentile man.  He was always very careful to never hurt a patient while doing his dental procedures.  He would constantly ask if they were OK.  Also, unlike most dentist, he would only work on one patient at a time.  He gave you his full attention, and he made every patient feel ‘special’.  Through the years he did a lot of costly work on my teeth, and he always refused to take a penny.  He did it because I was a minister and he was a man of God,” Windsor continued.
“One of the pastimes he enjoyed the most was working with his cows.  I think that is where he really got to relax and have fun.  He was a wonderful man…and I will miss him,”  Windsor concluded.  So will many, many other citizens of our area.

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