|In Fond Memory of Walter Miller|
When Walt agreed to help me with a website for Lake Jennings Park Estates, I’m sure he never intended to spend 24/7 doing just that. It kept growing and was so much fun for all of us! On the 8th and 9th of December he was laughing with us while he photographed no.38 and no.18 in the park to create a virtual tour for each of them. This was a first for Walt, but I found there was nothing that he couldn’t do – I will continue as best I can on this website which he enjoyed doing and loved, but it will never be the same as when Walt Miller created it and continually expanded it. He will be missed by all of us at Lake Jennings Park Estates, and especially our family, who was in contact with him almost daily.
- Colleen Chiles
to the American Cancer Society
2655 Camino del Rio North, Suite 100, San Diego, CA 92108-1633.
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Walter Miller; ex-Tribune managing editor
By Lola Sherman
December 12, 2005
LAKESIDE – Walter Miller will be remembered by his colleagues as the managing editor of The Evening Tribune who steered the staff through coverage of the devastating PSA plane crash and the newspaper's subsequent Pulitzer Prize.
The PSA crash, which killed 144 people in the air and on the ground Sept. 25, 1978, occurred 20 minutes before the newspaper's first deadline that day.
Mr. Miller was at the helm.
"He was Mr. Calm under fire," said Bill Osborne, senior editor/opinion for The San Diego Union-Tribune.
Mr. Miller brought much more than the Pulitzer Prize to San Diego, friends and co-workers say. Carl Larsen, now the Home editor of the Union-Tribune, remembers Mr. Miller as the one who computerized the newsroom. And veteran police reporter Joe Hughes recalls Mr. Miller starting one of the first "enterprise teams" of investigative reporters, although Mr. Miller thought all reporters should be investigators.
Mr. Miller may have been best known by readers for the eight years of "On the Road" columns about recreational-vehicle travel. He wrote the column from 1986 to 1994 after he had retired from the newspaper.
Mr. Miller, 75, who died at his home Saturday, was the third former Tribune managing editor to die in the past two months.
Gene Gregston, 80, who went on to be editor of the paper, died Dec. 4.
And George Dissinger, 77, who succeeded Mr. Miller as managing editor in 1986, died Nov. 9.
Mr. Miller had worked for The Evening Tribune, which merged with The San Diego Union in 1992, for 20 years, making the move with the paper from its former downtown headquarters to Mission Valley.
"He was so great to work for," Union-Tribune travel writer Alison DaRosa said. "He was one of those great bosses who was smart and kind and respectful and a good newspaperman."
"Walt was ideally suited to be the managing editor at an afternoon paper," former Tribune deputy editor Bob Witty said, recalling the paper once had five editions, which meant five different front pages were created daily. Mr. Miller, Witty said, could make the necessary quick decisions.
Former Tribune editor Neil Morgan said, "Walt was a consummate journalist. He ran a newsroom on deadline as calmly as any editor I've known, never raising his voice."
Mr. Miller's daughter Linda, a county media spokeswoman, said he routinely walked two miles every morning and evening. His family believes he had gone out out for his usual two-mile walk Saturday morning before reading the newspaper. His coffee cup was still warm when he was found dead on the floor by his wife of 53 years, Kathryn.
Linda Miller said her dad had been given only a slim chance to live 15 years ago, when he was a heavy smoker with lung cancer. Although never robust since then, he had enjoyed relatively good health.
Mr. Miller, a native of Syracuse, N.Y., was a graduate of Syracuse University with a degree in journalism. He subsequently worked on the Syracuse Herald Journal and then The Buffalo News and at radio station WBEN, Buffalo.
Linda Miller said that in the cold of winter 1965 in New York, Mr. Miller announced to his family that they were leaving for sunny California.
In addition to his wife and daughter, Linda, Mr. Miller is survived by daughters, Donna Wallace of San Diego and Lisa Paris of Aliso Viejo; son, James Miller, of Cohasset; and eight grandchildren. Cremation is planned. A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Dec. 19 in Lakeside. For further details, e-mail Linda Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org