The Washington Historical Society posthumously presented its 16th annual Museum Builder Award for outstanding contributions either through volunteerism or financial support to Tom Miller.
Miller’s wife, Marilyn, accepted the award on his behalf Dec. 7 at the organization’s annual holiday banquet, held at the Washington Senior Center.
Miller, whose newspaper career at the Washington Missourian spanned nearly 40 years, died Thursday, July 27, 2017, after a short hospital stay in St. Louis County. He was just a few days short of age 82.
Miller retired at The Missourian in 1996. At that time he was copublisher with his brother, Bill, Sr., and served as director of advertising for about 35 years.
Marc Houseman, museum director, presented the award. He said it was during Miller’s tenure on the Historical Society board that things really began to move in a forward direction, much to his credit.
“His foresight for full-time operation of the museum moved him to establish our finance committee,” Houseman said. “It was he who hatched the idea of an annual fundraising golf outing and he spearheaded that event for many years.”
Houseman said his favorite memory of Tom is when he was elected president of the Washington Historical Society. At the first meeting, he asked how many members there were and no one knew the answer.
It was then discovered that 200 newsletters were being sent out, 30 were being mailed to people no longer living and of the remaining 170, only about 40 had paid dues the past year.
“With his guidance and ongoing concern for our organization, we have, indeed, come a long way,” Houseman said. “I will remember (Tom) as always smiling and having a ready laugh. I am grateful to him personally, for helping to create my job.
“Regrettably, this award is being presented posthumously.”
Past recipients include Frank Uhlenbrock, Izzy Feltmann, George Bocklage, Ralph Gregory, Charlotte Leiweke, Gerry Frankenfeld, the Wilke Family, Joe Sedlock, the Bank of Washington, Nancy Wood, the Bank of Franklin County, Tom Martin, Nancy Ayres, Genny Uhlenbrock and Walt Larson.