WOOSTER -- Merle Joe Miller, 77, of Wooster, passed away on Monday, Jan. 23, 2017, at LifeCare Hospice in Wooster.
He was born Nov. 28, 1939, in Holmes County, the son of Otto O. and Oreda Hannah Lautenschleger Miller, and married Jannette Louise Schaum on July 23, 1966. She survives.
Joe graduated from Wooster High School in 1958 and The Ohio State University in 1963. He spent several years with General Tire & Rubber Co. as a field auditor and later as manager of an accounts receivable department. For 35 years he was vice president of sales for Santmyer Oil Company. He also was a sales agent for Sonnenberg Mutual Insurance Co.
Later in life, Joe founded and operated a State Certified Continuing Education School. He trained hundreds of individuals in the removal and installation of underground fuel storage tanks. He was active in politics and proud of the fact that he was a fifth generation Democrat. In 1992, he ran for county commissioner and later ran for state representative.
Joe worked very hard for the community. He was an early board member of People to People Ministries and had worked hard to help it grow to its present size. As an early board member of Habitat for Humanity, he aided in the moving of multiple houses in Wooster. Joe was a charter member of Wayne County Sustainable Energy Network. He had spent considerable time on local projects to protect the environment, and had always enjoyed history and was on the board of Wayne County Historical Society. Joe also was an author and wrote a book "Before Turn Signals & Permanent Antifreeze" that tells the history of the gas stations in Wooster. He also was active in Trinity United Church of Christ.
His hobbies included watching his grandchildren in their various sports and he also was a collector of auto gas station memorabilia.
Surviving in addition to his wife, Janette, are children, Steve (Veronica) Miller and Sharon (Hoss) Allison, both of Wooster; grandchildren, Dylan, Nik and Emily Allison and Clay and Samuel Miller; and siblings, Evelyn Manchester and Donna Caldwell of Wooster, and Helen Sapp of Oklahoma.
He was preceded in death by his parents and brothers, Robert W., Painter G., Dean and Marion "Barney."
Memorial services were Thursday, Jan. 26, at Trinity United Church of Christ, 150 E. North St., Wooster, with the Rev. Dr. Kevan Franklin officiating. Private family burial was in Prairie Township Cemetery, Holmesville.
Those who wish may make memorial contributions to Trinity United Church of Christ; or LifeCare Hospice, 1900 Akron Road, Wooster 44691.
Arrangements were handled by McIntire, Bradham & Sleek Funeral Home, 216 E. Larwill St., Wooster. Online condolences may be left for the family at www.mcintirebradhamsleek.com.