William S. Miller, mechanical engineer

March 21, 2010|By Frederick N. Rasmussen

William S. Miller, a retired mechanical engineer who was also a model railroad and dollhouse enthusiast, died Wednesday in his sleep at Emeritus at Pikesville, an assisted-living facility. He was 101.

William Samuel Miller, whose parents emigrated from Lithuania, was the son of a tailor and a homemaker.

As a youth, he worked in his father's shop while attending Polytechnic Institute, from which he graduated in 1927. He earned a bachelor's degree in 1930 in mechanical engineering from the Johns Hopkins University.

Mr. Miller worked for 30 years at the Naval Gun Factory, which later became the Naval Weapons Plant, at the Navy Yard in Washington. He retired in 1965.

During World War II, he helped design guns that were used aboard battleships, family members said.

An expert model railroader, Mr. Miller first began working with Lionel O-gauge trains and later switched to HO-gauge, and installed and operated a highly detailed layout in the basement of his Stevenson Village home.

He also built several dollhouses and enjoyed designing and building dollhouse furniture.

Mr. Miller wrote hundreds of articles for model railroad and dollhouse magazines, said a son, Irvin M. Miller of Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

When he turned 89, Mr. Miller's two sons gave him a computer as a present, which he taught himself to use. He later volunteered at the Baltimore County Public Library, where he taught senior citizens how to use computers and navigate the Internet.

In 2004, he moved to the assisted-living community, where he founded a Yiddish language and Yiddish music club.

His wife of 61 years, the former Pearl Shapos, died in 2000.

Services were held Friday.

Also surviving is another, son, Gerry Miller of Allentown, N.J.; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

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