William Bush Miller, 77, died on Nov. 12, 2013, at his home on John Street in Wyalusing. He was born on Feb. 15, 1936, in Forest Lake, PA, the son of Arthur S. and Alice Bush. After the deaths of his parents, he was adopted, at the age of nine, by F. William Miller and Edith Darrow Miller, living much of his childhood in Newport, PA, before moving to Towanda for his senior year in high school, graduating from Towanda High School in 1954.
After high school, he went to the University of Pennsylvania and, from there, to the Temple University School of Pharmacy from which he graduated in 1959. He married Gladys Thomas on Oct. 26, 1959, and they settled in Wyalusing.
Bill worked for several years at Porter’s Drug Store in Towanda before opening a pharmacy on Church Street in Wyalusing in 1963 in the building now housing Jane Dietz Accounting. In 1966, he moved to a store location on Main Street which he operated as Miller’s Pharmacy for another 34 years. He sold the business to Jeff Pitcher, who still operates under that business name in the Farm & Home Plaza.
Bill and Gladys raised two daughters, Elaine, who was born April 17, 1961, and Lisa, born on Dec. 12, 1970.
The stories of Bill’s dedication to his customers are legendary. Aside from his typical 70-hour weeks, he would regularly open his store in the middle of the night when there was an emergency or someone was in need of a prescription filled or required medication.
He taught the adult Sunday School class at the Wyalusing United Methodist Church for about 30 years and served for almost two decades as a lay speaker for the church. He was an avid reader with a great hunger for learning, a student of world religions and a believer in the commonality among people and cultures.
Bill was a quiet observer, but he was an ambulance volunteer in its early years and remembers responding to the Wyalusing Hotel upon the death of its colorful owner, Mary “Ma” Fretz.
He was a member of the Masons since 1961 and was active in the Wyalusing Business Association and Rainbow Club for a number of years. An avid lover of history, he was a member of the Wyalusing Valley Museum Board up until the time of his death.
He was the second Wyalusing resident—the first being Karl “Doc Pete” Peterson—to have a day set aside in his honor. It was known simply as “Bill Miller Day.” Almost 20 years later, he and Gladys were honored as Wyalusing’s “Outstanding Citizens.”
His humility is reflected in his parting words to the community after selling his business: “Looking back I think this town was the right place for me to be. I hope I was the right person for the town.”
Bill’s passing came less than a month after the death of Gladys, who died suddenly on Oct. 17.
He is predeceased by a brother, Edwin Bush, and a sister, Jessie Georgi.
He is survived by his daughters, Elaine and Lisa; his beloved nephew, William Bush and his wife, Amy of Forest Lake; niece, Mary Alice Hawley and her husband, Leslie of Forest Lake; niece, Susan Bush Pratt of Montrose; nephew, Edwin “Sandy” Bush, Jr., a resident of the Harrisburg area; nephew, Michael Bush of Schroon Lake, NY; a sister, Alice Marie Branscombe of Marietta, GA, and a brother, Arthur Bush of San Carlos, CA.
Visitation will be held Saturday, Nov. 16, at 10 a.m. at the Wyalusing United Methodist Church followed by an 11 a.m. funeral service with the Rev. William Westbrook and the Rev. John Hardman-Zimmerman.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the P. Dean Homer Funeral Home, 1 Grovedale Lane, Wyalusing.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made in Bill’s name to the TACO Food Pantry in Wysox or the Wyalusing Valley Museum, PO Box 301, Wyalusing, PA 18853.