Melville DeSoto (“De”) Miller, Jr., age 76, unexpectedly passed away at his treasured Tewksbury, NJ, home on March 1, 2021. A man with a commanding presence, he showered us all with love, inspiration and guidance. De was born in Summit, New Jersey, to Frances Weinpahl Miller and Melville DeSoto Miller. De’s life was one of intense passion, family, work, love, and joy. He grew up in Basking Ridge, NJ, and was president and valedictorian of the first graduating Ridge High School class in 1962. He attended Amherst College, graduating in 1966. He met the love of his life, Louise Sills Barton Miller, while she was a student at Mount Holyoke College, and they married on August 27, 1966. After attaining his JD from Harvard Law in 1969, he fought as a social justice warrior for over fifty years, critically helping to incorporate Legal Services of New Jersey in the early 1970s, and continuing as the only President and Chief Counsel for five decades, until retiring in the summer of 2020. Although retired "on paper", De continued to be heavily involved in the work that was such an integral part of him, and he worked tirelessly to help the disenfranchised of NJ. During his tenure as President of LSNJ, he achieved numerous awards and accolades, including the prestigious Award of Excellence from the Thurgood Marshall College Fund in 2008. In addition to tangible awards, he earned the respect of so many - as he demonstrated an incredible, humane, empathic, selflessly dedicated, and compassionate heart. De was a voracious reader and an erudite logophile, and took great pleasure in his home, golf, traveling, and music of most any type. De is predeceased by his wife of 49 years, Louise, and his first grandson, Torin Miller. He is survived by three children, Tristan Miller of Tewksbury; Koren Miller & husband Manish Bhatt of Tewksbury; Kendra Gibson & husband Theotis of Hampstead, North Carolina; and eight grandchildren: Tiernan and Taran Miller; Prem, Maya, and Jayan Bhatt; and Ariela, Miles, and Isaiah Gibson, as well as many cherished family members, friends, work family, and others, all who loved him immensely. His love for his family transcended all, and everyone knew and felt this intense love. Being ever present for birthdays, athletic events, academic achievements or significant events in the lives of his family - even safely, in the midst of Covid - his devotion to his family was abundantly clear.
An outdoor memorial service will take place on Saturday, May 22, 2021 from 12pm - 3pm at the Red Mill in Clinton, NJ.
Arrangements by Scarponi-Bright Funeral Home in Lebanon, NJ. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials or donations may be made to Legal Services of New Jersey (http://www.lsnj.org), or the Association for Frontotemporal Dementia (theAFTD.org).
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