Sidney Calvin Miller
Apr 24, 1928 – Dec 11, 2020
Sid was born on April 24, 1928, on the Spitz Farm in Mount Pleasant, Florida, the eighth of nine children. He quit high school in the 11th grade and joined the U.S. Navy. He was stationed in Washington, D.C. as a clerical aid in the main Navy’s National Headquarters when he met Mary Anne Thornett who had grown up in the Washing ton area. They married in December, 1948, a week before Christmas, and were together for almost 71 years until her death on November 4, 2019.
After leaving the Navy, Sid earned his high school equivalency certificate and in 1955 enrolled in the University of Maryland on the G.I. Bill. He became the first member of his family to earn a college degree. Sid and the other children of Samuel Paul and Melissa May Johnson Miller were raised on farms in south Georgia and north Florida. Samuel and Melissa were tenant-farmers most of their lives, but eventually were able to buy their own farm in Gadsden County. They raised peanuts and tobacco and almost all of their food. Money was usually scarce and educational opportunities for their children usually limited to the lower and middle school grades.
Sid would have a long career with the Maryland Department of Agriculture, which had close affiliations with the University of Maryland and his office at times was on the Maryland campus. Sid and Mary Anne lived for many years in Gambrills, MD.
Later in his career, he was an organizer of an International conference to promote agricultural products, including Maryland sweet potatoes. He liked to boast that he helped create Maryland sweet potato ice cream. He thought it was delicious and a significant product even though it never was on the Baskins- Robbins 61- Flavor Menu.
Following his retirement from the State of Maryland in 1985, Sid and Mary Anne moved to Florida, living in Quincy, west of Tallahassee. They moved south to Polk County in 1988, first living in Winter Haven and then Lakeland, where they were residents of the Carpenters Estates retirement community.
Sid and Mary Anne were faithful, active members of the Lake Gibson Church of Christ in Lakeland. They made wonderful friends in the Lake Gibson church and maintained important, nurturing friendships from their prior congregation in Winter Haven.
Sid wrote an autobiography, “The Seasons of My Life,” in 2009, partly, as he noted, “That all may know of my life and service in the Lord.” His book was dedicated “to my wonderful wife, Mary Anne, and to my equally wonderful daughter, Pam. Just the thought of life without either one of them is very gloomy.”
This self-published autobiography is cherished by his nieces and nephews because in addition to Sid’s life, it is a growing up history of their Southern farming family parents – Sid’s sisters, Bertha, Edna, Lillian, Margaret and Dora Lee; and his brothers, Sam, George, and Jake. Sid outlived all of his siblings.
Sid is survived by daughter Pamela Gerred (Terry) of Unionville, Ohio, three wonderful grandchildren, Sean, Samantha and Shelby Gerred, also of Unionville, great granddaughter Liela Shannon, and many doting nieces and nephews. While not blood relatives, John Thornett of Deland, Mary Anne’s brother, and his wife Johnnie are surviving relatives as a practical matter. John executed Sid’s power of attorney in recent years and he and Johnnie befriended Sid and Mary Anne in innumerable ways for several years.
A service will be held at the National Cemetery in Bushnell, Florida, Tuesday, December 15 at 2:00.