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Dale Richard Miller
December 28, 1948 ~ November 21, 2023 (age 74) 74 Years Old
Dale Richard Miller, lovingly known as Rich, was born on December 28, 1948 to W. Roger Miller, Sr. and H. Louise White Miller and passed away on November 21, 2023. He grew up to be an honorable, kind, loving, hilarious, and wonderful husband, father, brother, grandfather, coach, and friend to many.
Rich went through the Taft school system and developed a passion for diving from a young age going to the Plunge. He graduated from Taft Union High School in 1967 with diving records (which son Ryan broke thereafter). Rich moved on to make more records at Bakersfield College and California State University, Los Angeles where he honed his craft and studied to become a coach. There he became a Dad for the first time to son, Ryan.
On a pay phone at work in 1972, Rich received a call from head coach Alan Switzer who invited Rich to join him 3,000 miles away to kickstart the swimming and diving team at the University of Maine, Orono.
As the original diving coach and during his 13 years running the Black Bear diving program and age-group programs. Rich coached his divers to be New England champions, national qualifying divers, and to many titles and New England gold medals.
Rich met his Maine girl and best friend, Janet Hartley, when she attended UMO. They married in 1978 and played lots of racquetball, listened to Bruce Springsteen, and welcomed son Jordan in 1982 and son Jeffrey in 1985. That same year, Rich moved his family to Taft to help his father with the family business, eventually taking over the business.
Two years after moving back to his hometown, daughter Jessica joined the party. Through the 90's and until his retirement in 2019, Rich provided the best insurance coverage to the people of his hometown and worldwide. He loved to play golf, go out for sushi, make jokes, travel, and watch sports. He especially loved taking Janet to the Central Coast and back home to Maine, where he was welcomed as a Meathead into the Hartley family and especially by his father-in-law’s farmer friends. He also enjoyed watching his kids and grandkids jump on the tramp and teaching them different dives into the family pool. That was him.
In 2000, UMO created the Rich Miller Award for Commitment to Diving, which is given annually. In 2018, Rich was selected as the Business Man of the Year in Taft, and in 2022, he was inducted into the Maine State Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame, with 17 family members from California watching with pride. He was a longtime member of Taft Kiwanis Club.
Rich is survived by his wife of 45 years, Janet, and their four children, Ryan and wife Misty, Jordan and wife Shannon, Jeffrey, and Jessica and husband Michael. He is also survived by his grandkids Cameron, Quinn, Logan, Lily, Melody, Jacob, Maddox, Hadley, and Elijah; his brothers, Roger and Randy and wife Ginny; and his large extended California family. He also leaves behind his Maine family, Steven Hartley, Newport; Laurel Barker, Farmingdale; Barbara Mower, St. Albans; James Hartley, Scarborough; and Judith McCann, Hopkinton, RI and all their families, as well as many UMO colleagues and friends.
He loved to love. He loved to support and encourage. He loved rocks, and he loved rock n’ roll. He loved Taft, and he loved Maine. And we all loved him so much. He was an absolute LEGEND.
A party will be held at the Taft Petroleum Club, 450 Petroleum Club, Taft on Friday, December 8, 2023, at 4pm.