A funeral mass was held for Senate President Emeritus Thomas V “Mike” Miller Jr. Saturday morning at St. John The Evangelist Catholic Church in Clinton, in which he was remembered for his love, service and humor.
A white pall was draped over his coffin at the church’s front, as he was draped in white during baptism.
“He is inescapably built into our lives. Who and what we are, Mike has immeasurably helped to shape. His christ-like compassion and limitless love, these have seeped into our very blood. Because of Mike, we are not only more Christian, we are more human,” Rev. Msgr. Ronald Jameson, Deacon of the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, said.
When Jameson first became a priest in the late 1960s, he was assigned to St. John The Evangelist, down in “Millerland,” he said. Miller was coming up as a political leader at the same time, and he knew the politician throughout his life.
“He was in every sense a lion of the senate,” Jameson said.
The service was video streamed live on the church’s Facebook page, as attendance was limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Miller’s son, Tommy Miller, said one of the things that defined his father’s nearly 46-year tenure in the state legislature was his mentorship of others.
“He made sure every one of those senators knew how to accomplish things,” he said.
Tommy Miller also spoke about his father’s love for the University of Maryland, College Park. The University of Maryland’s mascot, a terrapin named Testudo, was displayed next to Miller’s coffin.
Tommy Miller was diagnosed with a brain tumor four years ago. His father couldn’t help but say, “A Dukie’s doing the surgery?” when he found out the doctor treating his son graduated from Duke University, which Maryland graduates hate.
Tommy Miller also said the President Emeritus had a connection to a viral video from 2017 in which a Maryland student crushes a beer against her head and chugs it in a matter of seconds. He said his daughter was roommates with the student, and both were in trouble for the video. Tommy Miller said he decided he needed to show his father, then one of the state’s top political figures.
“He said, ‘That’s one of the greatest thing’s I’ve ever seen.’ Does she fish? Does she ride motorcycles?’” Tommy Miller recalled, laughing. “You can take the man out of Clinton, but you can never take Clinton out of the man.”
Tommy Miller also talked about how much value his father put on forgiveness, whether forgiving political rivals or forgiving an Orioles player for doping.
Melissa Miller recalled her father talking with constituents at swim meets and football games, how he would listen and take notes. She thinks he would be proud to look down at all the strong women he has helped, his daughters, granddaughters and women in their law office.
“He still went to help every person he could,” she said. “While nobody can be perfect, my dad was as close to being the most perfect dad someone can have.”
Tommy Miller selected a quote from the Greek philosopher Heraclitus to describe his father, who he also described as a “quote machine.”
“Out of every one hundred men, ten shouldn’t even be there, eighty are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back.”