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Former North Cascades National Park superintendent Keith Miller dies at 87

Post by Craig Hill / The News Tribune on July 3, 2012 at 7:13 am with No Comments »
July 3, 2012 8:49 am

Keith Miller (Bangor Daily News file)
Former North Cascades National Park superintendent Keith Miller died recently in Bar Harbor Maine. He was 87. Miller started his 36-year career with the National Park Service as a ranger at Mount Rainier National Park. He attended graduate school at the University of Washington and was a middle school teacher in Seattle in the 1950s.

Here is the announcement posted this morning by the National Park Service:


Keith E. Miller, 87, retired career ranger, past superintendent of Acadia and North Cascades, and former ARD for Southwest Region, passed away on June 27th in Bar Harbor, Maine.

Keith was born on November 30, 1924, in a town outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to John T. Miller and Wilda Sprowels Miller.

Upon his graduation from Monongahela High School in 1942, Keith joined the Merchant Marine, who would take 17-year-olds, and later transferred to the U.S. Navy. He served as a radioman during the Pacific campaign and visited Shanghai, China, after the liberation.

After attending college at Indiana University of Pennsylvania on the G.I. Bill, he went west to do graduate work in geography and education at the University of Washington. There he met and fell in love with Carolyn Hutchins, and not coincidentally, the National Parks. Carolyn’s father was a naturalist and seasonal ranger at Yellowstone during the Depression.

After they married they both taught middle school in Seattle, but in 1958 Keith gave up that for a permanent position as a ranger at Mount Rainier, and Carolyn for a barely winterized cabin on the mountain. Keith served 36 challenging and happy years in the National Park Service.

His early postings ranged far and wide by location and responsibility – from Glacier National Park, where he trapped bears and fought fires, and Wind Cave National Park, where he found an entrance to a large new arm of the cave now called Miller Low Life. His first position as superintendent was at Gran Quivira National Monument in New Mexico. He also served at Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi, and two years in Washington, D.C., as acting chief ranger for the entire Park Service.

Keith served as superintendent of Acadia from 1971 to 1978, at which time the Millers fell in love with the island enough to purchase property for a retirement home. After six years at superintendent of North Cascades Park Complex in Washington, Keith ended his career as associate regional director of the Southwest Region, which then included Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. He was given the Meritorious Service Award for his supervision of the cleanup of toxic spills on Padre Island in Texas.

After their retirement to Bar Harbor, Keith and Carolyn traveled a great deal and even lived for a time in Vienna, Austria (1999-2000). Keith kept up his interest in the parks, working for Eastern Parks and Monuments Association and Friends of Acadia and also served on the board of Jessup Memorial Library.

Keith is survived by his wife, Carolyn of Bar Harbor; daughter, Kristin of New York City; grandson, Keith of Washington, D.C.; son, Kem and wife, Katerina, and grandsons, Aleksander and Adam, of Chevy Chase, Md.; and his brother Thomas Miller of Tucson, Ariz. He is also survived by his beloved Austrian family in Vienna, Kerstin and Claudius Stracke and their children, Dominik, Jakob, Clarissa and Iris.

Memorial services will be held on Saturday, July 21st, at Bar Harbor Congregational Church, Bar Harbor, at a time to be announced. Contributions in his memory may be made to Friends of Acadia, P.O. Box 725, Bar Harbor, ME 04609 or Bar Harbor Congregational Church, 29 Mount Desert St., Bar Harbor, ME 04609. Arrangements by Jordan-Fernald, 1139 Main St., Mount Desert. Condolences may be expressed




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