Ronald Webster Miller

Published 9:13 am Thursday, September 8, 2022

Oct. 02, 1943 – Sept. 02, 2022

Ronald Webster Miller, 78, passed away on Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, at home in Natchez, MS.  Ron was born on Oct. 2, 1943, in Temple, TX, to Lloyd Cardin and Jeannette Van Hoy Miller, while his father was stationed at Fort Hood.  He was a graduate of Myers Park High School in Charlotte, NC, and a National Merit Scholar.  He received a B.A. in Art History at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and attended graduate school as a Henry Francis du Pont Fellow at the University of Delaware.

Ron was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Lloyd Cardin Miller, Jr.

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He is survived by his wife, Mary (Mimi) Warren Miller; his daughter, Sarah Gray Miller of Coxsackie, NY; his son, Webster Warren Miller, and wife, Ashley of Dallas, TX; his brother, Andrew Ashley Miller of Charlotte, NC; his grandson, Marshall David Heltz, wife, Kristie, and daughter, Andi Jane of Lake Charles, LA; his grandson, Jackson Christopher Miller of Austin, TX; and his granddaughter, Logan Caroline Shutt of Baton Rouge, LA.  Ron is also survived by two first cousins who were more like brothers, Jeffrey Windsor Beaver and wife, Carol of Charlotte, NC, and Timothy Paris Beaver of High Point, NC.

Ron was working as a computer programmer at Eastern Airlines in Charlotte, NC, when he met Mimi in 1967.  After they married, he returned to college and attended graduate school to study art history, architectural history, and decorative arts. He had previously studied architecture at North Carolina State University.

Upon finishing his graduate education in the spring of 1972, Ron entertained a number of job offers and characteristically chose a position that seemed the most challenging and paid the least:  Architectural Historian, Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Six months later, Archives and History transferred him from Jackson to Natchez, which remained his home until his death.

In Natchez, Ron first oversaw the restoration of Historic Jefferson College before serving as site administrator of the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians.  After seven happy years, he made a big leap—leaving the security of Archives and History in 1979 to become the first executive director of the Historic Natchez Foundation, an organization that had no office, no telephone number, no retirement plan, and only enough money to pay his salary for about two years.  He had a vision of a strong, multi-faceted preservation organization that recognized and celebrated the history of every cultural group.  His vision became a reality due to his keen intellect, his wide-ranging skill set, and his unflagging optimism.

In 2008, just a few months short of his 30-year anniversary with the Historic Natchez Foundation, Ron responded to a plea from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History to head up its disaster-recovery field office on the Gulf Coast, where he administered a $26-million-dollar fund for restoring historic properties damaged by Hurricane Katrina. During the six years he worked on the Coast, Ron drove home nearly every weekend before retiring to Natchez in 2014.  Never has a man so loved a place. In the last years of his life, Ron reminded Mimi almost daily (sometimes ten times a day) how lucky they were to live in such a wonderful town with such wonderful people—people who helped watch over him as his memory declined.

A memorial service for Ron will be held at 11 a.m., Friday, Sept. 9, 2022, at First Presbyterian Church with the Rev. Dr. Joan W. Gandy officiating. Visitation will take place before the service, from 10 until 11 a.m. in Stratton Chapel and, after the service, at a reception at the Historic Natchez Foundation.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at lairdfh.com.