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Published: Wednesday, 5/5/2010

Ex-Sherwood mayor was a UAW official


SHERWOOD, Ohio - George Clayton Miller, 84, longtime president of a United Auto Workers local and a former mayor of the Defiance County village he called home since 1965, died Monday in Bryan Care and Rehabilitation Center.

The cause of death was not known, his son Richard said.

He moved to the care center after complications of an aneurysm near his heart in 2005 paralyzed him from the chest down, his son Richard said.

Mr. Miller - who was called "George" at work and "Clayton" everywhere else - was in the second year of his third four-year term as mayor of Sherwood when he resigned because of his illness.

"He was for everything in the town and tried to make it better," said Mayor Glen Vance, who as village council president succeeded Mr. Miller.

Mr. Miller was first elected to village council in the late 1960s, a few years after he and his family moved to Sherwood.

"He always just wanted to help people, and he didn't think the town was doing enough for the infrastructure, so he got on council," his son said.

Mr. Miller served several terms on council, not all consecutive, until he was elected mayor.

During his years on council and as mayor, he oversaw installation of water and sanitary sewer lines, and he helped with the conversion of a former spiritualist camp, deeded to the village, into a park and community center.

He was an advocate for returning tax dollars to Sherwood by seeking grant money.

"He loved to see the parks grow," Mr. Vance said.

Mr. Miller retired in 1993 from Defiance auto-parts manufacturer Zeller Corp. He was a proponent of the UAW's organizing effort at Zeller, and he was president of Local 1298 for years.

"When I was a kid, around the supper table it was always what was going on in the union," his son said.

He negotiated contracts on behalf of members. He took courses at the UAW's education center at Black Lake, Mich., and attended annual gatherings in Washington of the UAW Community Action Program.

He was an ardent supporter of the Democratic Party. That put him at odds with his three sons.

"His heart was in the right place," son Richard said. "[He came] up through the Depression. I can't blame him, because of the hard times they came through and Roosevelt was their savior to bring them through."

He was born Nov. 21, 1925, to Esther and Russell Miller on a farm near Grover Hill, Ohio. He grew up in Farmer Center, Ohio, and attended Farmer High School.

He and his wife, Deloris, married May 18, 1945. She died Jan. 28, 2008.

Surviving are his sons, James, Robert, and Richard Miller, brother, Phil Miller, sister, Phyllis Ballinger, six grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren.

The body will be in the Krill Funeral Home, Bryan, after 2 p.m. tomorrow. Services will be at 11 a.m. Friday in St. John's Lutheran Church, Sherwood, where the family will receive friends after 10 a.m.

The family suggests tributes to St. John's Lutheran, of which he was a member, or to a charity of the donor's choice.

Contact Mark Zaborney at:


or 419-724-6182.

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