John Miller, 88, owner of glass business, restaurateur

February 15, 2002|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

John Henry Miller, a former restaurateur who founded a stained-glass business, died of heart failure Feb. 8 at a hospital in Billings, Mont. He was 88 and lived in Kingsville for nearly half a century before moving to Cheyenne, Wyo., 15 years ago.

A member of the family that founded the now-defunct Miller Brothers Restaurant in downtown Baltimore, he managed the Kingsville Inn on Belair Road from 1950 to 1962, and owned Perry House in the Perry Hall shopping center from 1962 to 1969.

"He was a hugely popular person," said his daughter, Nancie Furnish of Sheridan, Wyo. "He spoke kindly and acted fairly. He loved people and respected them. He took an interest in his customers and he remembered their names and things about them. Once people met him, they felt they had a friend forever."

In 1969, after giving up restaurant work, he took an interest in stained glass and opened the Miller Studio in a clapboard-and-brick building he constructed on Belair Road in Kingsville. Soon he was making decorative stained-glass windows and lighting fixtures for homes and restaurants. His work featured waterfowl, bulrushes, birds and flowers. He used thin strips of copper foil to create his intricate designs.

He was sought by those renovating old houses in Baltimore, who brought him broken colored-glass windows from Highlandtown, Charles Village and Bolton Hill homes for repair.

"John Henry Miller could do anything he put his mind to," said John Franz, a former Kingsville neighbor. "He had built houses, he could woodwork and sheet-metal work, too."

After moving to Cheyenne, he continued his stained-glass and woodworking projects, and won the Glass Artists of Wyoming Award in 1989.

"He loved exploring the family ranch at the foot of the Big Horn Mountains," his daughter said. A private funeral will be held there.

Born in Washington, he was raised on Bellona Avenue in Govans and was a 1931 City College graduate. As a young man, he built houses in Baltimore County.

His wife of 30 years, the former LaRue Culp, died in 1992.

In addition to his daughter, he is survived by a sister, Frances LeCompte of Towson, and five grandchildren. Another daughter, Suzanne Cresswell, died in 1986. His older brother, Fred W. Miller Jr., died Feb. 3.

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