E. Spencer Miller, president of the Maine Central

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E. Spencer Miller, president of the Maine Central

Post by MEC407 »

E. Spencer Miller has passed away at the age of 97. He is believed to have been the longest-serving president of a Class I railroad. His employees had a great deal of respect and admiration for him, which contributed to the uncommon level of pride they and their families had in the Maine Central.

Here is his obituary:

SCARBOROUGH - E. Spencer Miller died at Piper Shores in Scarborough on Aug. 12, 2005.

Mr. Miller was born in Springfield, Vt., in 1908, the son of Edward W. Miller, inventor and machine tool manufacturer, and Grace Spencer Miller.

Mr. Miller attended Dartmouth College, interrupting his academic education to work as a machinist for Jones arid Lamson Co. At Dartmouth he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year and delivered the valedictory address at the graduation of his Class in 1931. In 1934 he graduated from Harvard Law School and engaged in the general practice of law in Lowell, Mass., with the firm of Spalding and Gira.

In 1937 Mr. Miller joined the legal staff of the Boston and Maine Railroad and in 1940 became general attorney for the Maine Central Railroad in Portland. In 1946 he became general counsel, in 1947 vice president, and in 1949 first vice president and director. He succeeded to the presidency of the Maine Central and its subsidiary corporations in 1952, a position be held until Jan. 1, 1978, thus serving longer as a president of a class 1 railroad than any other. Mr. Miller remained as Chairman of the Board until 1981.

For over 30 years Mr. Miller successfully resisted take over attempts to combine the Maine Central with less sound properties, which he felt would harm Maine, its industries and the employees of the Road.

Other railway activities involved a long term tenure as Director, then Senior Director, of Railway Express, more terms as Director of the Association of American Railroads than any other, and then several terms on the eight man National Railroad Labor Conference. In 1970, in collaboration with Alfred Perlman of the Penn Central, he organized and directed the Eastern Railroad Association with membership including all roads north of Virginia and east of the Mississippi. Upon retirement in 1981 he became a consultant for the Maine Central and Ashland Oil.

In December of 1977 Mr. Miller was honored by the union employees of the Waterville shops and presented a gold pocket watch 'in appreciation for his care in finding work to keep the shops operating and busy in good times and bad.' Mr. Miller believed he was the only railroad president honored by a union in such a way. No thanks meant so much to him as the watch from those he served.

Other business affiliations were directorships of Bancroft and Martin, Rolling Mills, Bates Manufacturing, Dragon Cement, First National Bank of Boston, Great Northern Nekoosa, Keyes Fibre, and Maine National Bank.

Mr. Miller contributed in the civic fabric of New England as well. He served as director of the Maine Development Credit Corporation throughout its existence, several terms as director of Associated Industries of Maine, several terms as director of both the Portland and Maine Chambers of Commerce. He was a member of the Committee of 100 for the Portland Museum of Art. He represented Maine and New Hampshire for several years on the Alumni Council of Dartmouth, and for 10 years as Overseer of Dartmouth's Hanover Inn. Mr. Miller was a thirty-three degree mason, a member of the Cumberland Club, The Portland Country Club, as well as of the Union Club in Boston,

Mr. Miller was an avid outdoorsman. He loved his vegetable garden, and until the age of 88 would travel each summer in his pickup truck to Vermont to cut, split and load his firewood for the coming winter. Mr. Miller was devoted to his Red Sox. He witnessed Babe Ruth strike out Ty Cobb in 1919, and of course relished, more than-most, their miraculous comeback in 2004. He rarely missed a game. A voracious reader and thinker he was, literally, a walking encyclopedia.

Mr. Miller was predeceased by his wife of 56 years, Juanita Fownes of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia; and his son, Edward F. Miller who died in 2003.

His daughter Anne Emmet of Oldwick, N.J.; son, Charles Miller of Thetford Center, Vt.; and a sister, Marilynn of Toledo, Ohio survive him.

Mr. Miller was buried in Springfield, Vt., at the Summer Street Cemetery on Aug. 29. His funeral will be held at the State Street Congregational Church in Portland on Sept. 29, 2005 at 2 p.m.
Pan Am Railways — Boston & Maine/Maine Central — Delaware & Hudson
Central Maine & Quebec/Montreal, Maine & Atlantic/Bangor & Aroostook
Providence & Worcester — New England — GE Locomotives

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