James Matthew Miller [1973-2013]; Whitehouse lawmaker raced cardboard sleds


James Matthew Miller, a Whitehouse village councilman, died Saturday at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor.

Mr. Miller, 39, died of heart failure, his wife Susan said.

He loved cardboard sled racing with his two sons, making his wife laugh until tears streamed from her eyes; and then he’d tightly hold her and say how much he loved her.

“He was such an amazing husband and great father,” Mrs. Miller said. “The boys and I agree that we were lucky to have him for the short time that God gave us to him, instead of giving us anyone else.”

Mr. Miller was born in Toledo on Oct. 30, 1973, to John Wesley Miller and Carol Louise Ward Miller. He grew up in Swanton and graduated from Swanton High School in 1992. He was a self-employed businessman, focusing his endeavors on real estate and community enhancement.

His sons were his greatest joy and priority, his family said.

One of Mr. Miller’s greatest possessions was a third place award in the Cardboard Sled Races with son John David as his co-pilot.

He was asked to fill a vacancy on the Whitehouse Village Council in 2006 and was elected to a four-year term in 2008, said Mayor Angela Kuhn.

Council hasn’t decided whether it will fill Mr. Miller’s position — his term would have ended in November. It’s possible they will leave the seat vacant until the November election, she said.

The mayor called Mr. Miller a community leader, saying he was not only a village councilman, but also a frequent school volunteer who often became involved in various community projects.

“He was someone who was very involved in the community and had no agenda,” she said. “He was known by everyone in the community. He didn’t sit on the sidelines — he got involved.”

Mr. Miller is survived by his wife, the former Susan Cousino, whom he married Oct. 1, 1999, in Salzburg, Austria; sons, John David and Matt; parents, John and Carol, and sister, Gloria Wagner.

Visitation will be from 2-5 and 6-8 p.m. Wednesday at Peinert-Dunn Funeral Home, 6603 Providence St., Whitehouse. A memorial to celebrate his life will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday in Fallen Timbers Community Church, 7215 Noward Rd. The family suggests memorial contributions to the Miller Brothers Scholarship Fund through PNC Bank.

Whitehouse Village offices will be closed from 10:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday so officials can attend Mr. Miller’s funeral, Mayor Kuhn said.

Contact Federico Martinez at: fmartinez@theblade.com or 419-724-6154.