Zell Miller’s loss felt across region
Zell Bryan Miller passed away peacefully the morning of March 23, 2018, at the age of 86.
Zell Miller was born on February 24, 1932 in Young Harris, Georgia to Stephen Grady Miller and Birdie Bryan Miller. Zell’s father died when he was 17 days old and his widowed mother raised Zell and his older sister, Jane, in a house she built herself with rocks that she hauled out of a nearby stream.
Zell grew up in Young Harris and graduated from Young Harris College in 1951 before enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps. He served from 1953-1956, obtaining the rank of Sergeant. He credited his success in life to both the discipline his learned in the Marine Corps and the perseverance he learned from his mother.
Zell married Shirley Carver on January 14, 1954. They were married for 64 years and together they had two sons. He graduated from the University of Georgia with a master’s degree in history in 1958. After graduation, he returned to Young Harris College where he began a long career as an educator.
Zell Miller served as mayor of Young Harris from 1959-1960. He served as a Georgia State Senator from 1961-1964. He served as lieutenant governor of Georgia for 16 years from 1975-1991. He remains the longest serving lieutenant governor in Georgia history.
Zell Miller served as the 79th governor of Georgia from 1991-1999. As governor, he created the HOPE (Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally) Scholarship and Georgia’s Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten Program. He went on to serve in the U.S. Senate from 2000-2005.
Today, more than 1.8 million students have gone to college in Georgia on HOPE Scholarships and more than 1.6 million four-year-olds have begun their education through Georgia’s Pre-K Program. These were his proudest achievements in his 46-year career in public service.
At the time of his passing, he was a lifetime member of the Board of Trustees at Young Harris College and a member of the Board of Trustees at Mercer University.
Zell Miller was preceded in death by his father Stephen Grady Miller, mother Birdie Bryan Miller, and sister Jane Miller Ross.
He is survived by his wife, Shirley Carver Miller; sons, Murphy Carver Miller and Matthew Stephen Miller; granddaughter, Asia Miller Bowles; grandsons, Justin Grady Miller, Andrew Stephen Miller, and Bryan William Miller; and eight great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Miller Institute Foundation in memory of Zell Bryan Miller.
Article reprinted from the News Observer of Blue Ridge, GA