Marty Miller
Marty Miller
Marty Miller

Obituary of Marty Edward Miller

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our beloved Martin Edward (Marty) Miller at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance on Sunday, September 22, 2019. Marty is survived by his loving wife and soulmate, Marion Patricia (Patti) Lee, nee Comiskey, his sister, Sondra Fagenson, his nephews Ted (Laurel) Fagenson and David (Edye) Fagenson, his Aunt Bess Roth, his brothers- and sisters-in-law: Bernard (Nellie) Comiskey, Joe (Leitha) Comiskey, Jim (Irene Hooyer) Comiskey, Mike (Cathy) Comiskey, Kate Comiskey, Mary Dunlop (Ron Berlemont), Helen (David, 2013) Allin, John Comiskey, and Bill (Mary Jane) Comiskey, and his cousins: Chuck (Renee) Stern, Marcia (Gary, 2016) Stern, Rochelle (Shlomo) Gabay, Ronnie (Jeni) Mink, Marsha (Irwin) Etkin, Louis (Beth) Mink, Debby (Mike) Ciaccia, Alicia (Mary) Roth, Steve (Nancy) Roth, Nate (Yardena) Roth, and Dan Miller. Marty is also survived by many loving nieces, nephews, and other cousins. Marty was pre-deceased by his parents David Miller and Katheryn Miller Presberg, his brother-in-law, Sid Fagenson, and cousins Alan Stern and Aaron Gabay.

Marty was born on October 6, 1937 in Rochester, NY. The Sterns, Millers, and Minks all lived within a three block radius of each other, and the Roths from Indianapolis arrived for the summer. The cousins formed an alliance, like brothers and sisters, that holds true to today. The joys and sorrows of life have all been shared by them. They are an amazing support system for each other, though they now live all across the USA.

Marty took up weightlifting at age 12, became a championship wrestler and a tackle on the football team in high school. He went to University in Ohio and eventually moved to California, where he lived for 25 years. During that time, Marty spent a number of years as a rehabilitation counselor in a jail. Marty believed that education for young first offenders would broaden their outlook and give them something to strive for, hopefully ensuring that they would not repeat. He convinced management to purchase 40 bicycles. The participants rode the bikes to a community college during the day, and reported back to the jail in the late afternoon. He was so proud of the success of this program, as most of his participants never returned to jail.

For the last 10 of his California years, Marty owned and operated a very successful bridge and backgammon club. Marty had a long love affair with duplicate bridge, first learning to play on a bus ride to Mexico, when he was about 20 years old. He was a fierce competitor, winning dozens of Regional events and placing in many National events. But he also loved mentoring others, advising them of the importance of good partnership. Marty moved back to Rochester in the late 1980’s. There he continued to play bridge and mentor others in this exciting pastime. 

Marty had a wonderfully adventuresome spirit. In the early 1960’s, he took a battered used motorcycle with him to Europe. For 8 months, he toured around Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Asia before finally abandoning the bike in Sweden and returning to the States. After very early retirement, he spent some months at a spa, fasting, and also spent two or more months in various countries such as Australia, Thailand, and in Puerto Rico. He always took “the road less travelled” and strongly believed in “stopping and smelling the roses”.

Marty and Patti’s love affair started in the early 2000’s, when Marty spotted Patti at a bridge tournament. When they married in 2009, Marty made the big move from the US to Canada. He always remained a strong American, but proudly cheered for the Toronto Raptors basketball team. And with a lot of coaxing from Patti, even started to watch and cheer for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Marty and Patti shared a passion for bridge, and Marty taught Patti to play backgammon, a game they played almost every night of their married life. They also travelled extensively, teaching bridge on cruise ships, or just seeing the world their way. They loved to go and live in a city for extended periods of time and go to local events. They fondly remembered their 60 days in the South Pacific; safaring in South Africa, Botswana, and Zambia; Christmas Eve in the Namibia dessert; driving in the Seychelles; riding out a hurricane at sea around the bottom part of South America; visiting remote areas in Cambodia and Laos to work on Patti’s charity projects; riding elephants in India; and immersing themselves in India, where “Papa Miller” was loved by the young staff at every hotel.  Marty’s adventuresome spirit took him to over 120 countries and 6 continents.

Marty was highly intelligent, reading the newspaper and devouring many news and bridge magazines a month. He loved nothing better than a good debate about politics or any current event. He would listen to people wholeheartedly, but was not swayed easily from his views. He was loving, kind, and had a great sense of humour. He had a huge love for the outdoors and would sit for hours watching the birds (and the chipmunk) at the birdfeeders at the cottage, and driving around meant another opportunity to gaze at the beauty of the cloud formations.

Marty will be sorely missed by the many, who knew and loved him. The family thanks the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, particularly Dr Quoc Tran, and the other doctors, nurses, and staff in the ICU unit for their excellent professional and loving care of Marty. A service of Jewish faith will be held on Thursday September 26, 2019 at 11:00 am at the Hinnegan-Peseski Funeral Home 156 William St. S. Chatham Ontario 519-352-5120. Interment to follow. Details can be found on their website (www.peseski.com). In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Canadian Landmine Foundation or the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance in Marty’s memory. For US donors, A Vision For Clean Water (www.avisionforcleanwater.org)