Capt. H. Russell "Russ" Miller III, a retired Chesapeake Bay pilot who spent more than four decades guiding ships through the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal and from Baltimore to Cape Henry, Va., died Wednesday of complications from a stroke at Gilchrist Hospice Care.
The longtime North Baltimore resident was 73.
The son of H. Russell Miller Jr., a bay pilot, and Mary Jane Sweitzer Miller, a homemaker, Harry Russell Miller III was born in Baltimore and raised in Govans. He was a 1959 graduate of Loyola High School, where he was an outstanding basketball player.
"He began his six-year apprenticeship with the Association of Maryland Pilots after high school and became a bay pilot in 1965," said his wife of 43 years, the former Carmel Claire Carozza. "He was a very humble man and he loved his job because he had a great love of the water. He also loved being able to follow in his father's footsteps. They were very close."
While being a pilot could be stressful at times and hazardous, Mrs. Miller said it was "a very solitary job that was both peaceful and calming."
When Captain Miller wasn't on the bridge of inbound or outbound ships, he worked as a licensed commercial crabber on the Wye River, his wife said.
"Everyone said he was an excellent pilot who took his job very seriously," said Mrs. Miller, who said her husband retired in 2002 after an accident-free career.
He enjoyed yard work — especially growing tomatoes.
"We couldn't eat them all, and I don't do canning. He'd put tomatoes in the mailbox for the mailman and give them to the pharmacist at the Charlesmead Pharmacy," said Mrs. Miller.
Captain Miller enjoyed coaching in the Roland Park Little League when his two sons played there. He was an avid Terps fan and liked watching college rather than professional sports. He also played tennis.
A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 11 a.m. Monday at Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, Baltimore and Ware avenues, Towson.
In addition to his wife, Captain Miller is survived by his sons, H. Russell Miller IV of Otterbein and Dr. Michael McC. Miller of Charlotte, N.C.; a brother, Robert W. Miller of Monkton; a sister, Margaret Miller Mayo of Ormond Beach, Fla.; and three grandchildren.