State Sen. John Miller, 68, legislator committed to education reform

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State. Sen. John Miller
State. Sen. John Miller

Newport News – Senator John Miller, 68, passed away on Monday April 4, 2016.

A lifelong public servant and advocate for children and education, John was also a much loved husband, father, and grandfather who left an indelible footprint on this earth.

Born in Bryn Mawr, Penn., John grew up in Chicago and graduated from Northern Illinois University. He then moved to Hampton Roads where he began his career in journalism with WVEC-13.

During his 18-year tenure, he held a variety of roles including reporter, anchor, and news director. His weekly documentary news program, Focus, earned several national awards.

Following his career in broadcast journalism, John served as a top aide in the U.S. Senate to Senator Paul Trible. Upon returning to Hampton Roads and WVEC-13, he and Sandra Parker greeted the region daily on Good Morning Hampton Roads. He also held key administrative positions with public broadcasting station WHRO and Christopher Newport University.

John was elected to the Virginia State Senate in 2007 and worked tirelessly to ensure that every child in Virginia receives the best education possible. He led the General Assembly in reducing the number of SOL tests and most recently carried successful legislation to redesign high school education to better prepare students to be a part of the 21st century workforce.

He earned the “Solid as a Rock” award from The Virginia Education Association for his commitment to public education and was named “Policymaker of the Year” by the Association for Career and Technical Education. The Virginia State Reading Association also honored John by naming him their “Friend of Literacy” and he is the only legislator to have received this award twice. He was also devoted to improving senior citizens’ voting rights, bipartisan redistricting, and enhancing veterans’ quality of life.

In addition to John’s accomplishments in the General Assembly, he was equally impactful in his community. He was a past president of Peninsula READS, which provides literacy skills necessary for adults to function more effectively in their lives and community. John was also a member of numerous boards and committees. Some of these include the FoodBank of the Virginia Peninsula, the Newport News Youth Commission, the Downtown Hampton Child Development Center, the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth, and People to People, an organization dedicated to improving race relations in Newport News.

One of his most rewarding endeavors was his two decades as an umpire for the Warwick Little League. Although his strike zone was small, it was consistent, and he was as respected on the diamond as he was everywhere else.

John is survived by his beloved wife and partner, Sharron; daughter, Jenny Kitchen and husband Mark Brockway of Potomac, MD; son, John Miller and wife, Mary Peyton; grandson, Isaac of Houston, TX; mother, Yvonne DuChateau of Morton Grove, IL; sisters, Joan Miller of Green Oaks, IL and Lisa Ross and husband, Steve of Sycamore, IL; brother, Robert of Chicago, IL; sister and brother-in-law, Beth and Gary Walls of Newport News, VA; brother and sister-in-law, Jim and Corrie Crickenberger of Monkton, MD; mother in law, Betty Crickenberger of Newport News, VA, and numerous nieces and nephews.

The family will receive friends from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 7, 2016 at Weymouth Funeral Home.

Funeral Services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Friday, April 8, 2016 at First Baptist Church, Denbigh, 3628 Campbell Rd., Newport News, VA 23602.

Interment will follow in Peninsula Memorial Park.

In lieu of flowers contributions can be made to the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation or Peninsula READS.

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