Gilbert H. Miller Sr., insurance agent

November 06, 1993|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,Staff Writer

Gilbert Hill Miller Sr., a retired insurance agent and former sandlot baseballer who played well into his 50s, died Thursday at Union Memorial Hospital.

The Ednor Gardens resident, who was 85 years old at his death, retired from Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. in 1973 after a 35-year career as an agent and assistant manager.

He was reared in Westport, where he played center field for the Young Americans. His brother, Frank, played first base during the 1920s and 1930s. In the 1950s, he hit the longest ball ever to go outside the softball field near Bowley's Quarters, according to his son, Gilbert H. Miller Jr. of Freeland.

An original resident of Ednor Gardens, he bought a home on Yolando Road that faced the stadium, reflecting his passions for baseball and football. "He loved looking at the stadium," said his son, "and he was an Orioles and Colts season-ticket holder until 1973, when Bob Irsay and Joe Thomas took over the Colts."

He attended city schools until his father, a brakeman for the Baltimore & Ohio railroad, was killed in an accident and he went to work to help support his mother.

He went to City College at night and earned a high school diploma. He enrolled at the Johns Hopkins University, studying meteorology. He dropped out of college during the Depression and briefly drove a newspaper delivery truck for the News-Post and Sunday American before starting his insurance career in 1939.

In 1935, he married the former Gretchen Sandner of Baltimore, who died in 1983.

He served in the Navy during World War II.

"He loved dancing and used to dance at the Famous Ballroom on Charles Street," recalled his son. "He also played saxophone for the Sears, Roebuck Band." He was a man of unswerving routine, according to his son. "Every Saturday he'd visit Century Liquors on Gay Street and then go shopping at the A&P in Waverly," the son said.

"When I turned 21, he arranged a surprise for me. He bought me my first legal drink at Clampitt's Tavern, on Asquith Street, at 6 a.m. We then boarded a bus filled with Colt fans for the famous 1958 Giants game in New York. What a day!

"He was part of a group of guys there that were called the Curly Social Club, named in honor of the owner of the tavern, William H. Clampitt, who was bald. No one ever called it Clampitt's; they called it Curly's. And he enjoyed playing darts, poker and going on hired buses to Colts games," the son said.

He was active in the Oldtimers Baseball Association and had been post commander of American Legion Post 20 in Hamilton.

He was a member of St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Services were set for noon today at St. Mark's, St. Paul and 20th streets, Baltimore. Interment will be in Loudon Park Cemetery, 3801 Frederick Ave., Baltimore.

He also is survived by a daughter, Luise S. Lego of Perry Hall; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to St. Mark's.

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