James Jeffrey Miller, 54, of Folly Beach died Wed. March 5, 2014. As the City Paper's longtime distribution manager, he brought the paper to your newsstands and a smile to our faces every Wednesday.
A memorial celebration has been planned for Fri. March 14 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Bowen's Island Restaurant. If you were a close friend of Jim Miller's and would like more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
He was born June 23, 1959, in Paterson, N.J., to parents William and Marjorie Miller, and he grew up in Houlton, Maine, where I-95 stops at the Canadian border. He spent his high school years in Connecticut before falling in love with the Charleston area and moving here for good. Before coming to work for the City Paper in April 2006, he sold office equipment, worked in computer programming, and delivered newspapers for the Post and Courier.
He is survived by his children, James Jeffrey Miller II of Norfolk, Va. and Chelsea Miller of Providence, R.I. He is also survived by his siblings, William, Melissa, Anne, Joseph, and Elizabeth, along with dozens of nieces and nephews.
Here at the paper, we all have Jim Miller stories. By the time we stumbled into our Wednesday morning editorial staff meeting, Jim was usually calling it a day, having already met the delivery trucks at the office around 3 a.m., gotten the papers to their destinations, and fielded calls from clients — all with an irrepressible smile on his face. It always rains on Wednesdays, but Jim never seemed to mind.
Jim could often be seen walking around the office barefoot, complimenting writers on their articles, and asking salespeople about the latest advertisers. He possessed a remarkable memory and could keep track of delivery routes without a spreadsheet. He took complaints seriously and went above and beyond to make clients happy.
We knew Jim as a quick wit, a well-read libertarian, and a lover of nature. He fostered dogs. He tended horses at a house on Johns Island. He spent much of his last summer on earth living and working on an organic farm.
Jim constantly surprised us. Once, when we ran a story about the S.C. Supreme Court, Jim told us he had read every state Supreme Court decision that had been handed down since he arrived here. And he wasn't exaggerating: He then proceeded to rattle off case details and judge opinions from more than a decade ago.
He believed people should be on a level playing field. He believed in the power of bartering. He was always curious, always learning, and always ready to talk philosophy. He did not filter himself, regardless of the company he kept.
We treasure our memories with Jim. Recently, we all checked our phones to see some of the last things Jim texted us, and the results were wholly fitting. "I am the sea of tranquility," Jim said in one text message. Another: "You know what I like the best about you? Everything."
He was like a tall tale to us. How could one man exude so much peace and joie de vivre? He was onto something.
On multiple occasions, Jim Miller challenged us — men and women of words — to go a week without speaking. He had a theory about language being a curse, and he said we could communicate a lot without words anyway. We didn't fully grasp the concept, but we did understand when he said we could stand to listen more and talk less.
The City Paper got a little less weird last week. It might take two people to fill Jim Miller's job, but no one can replace him in our hearts.