Edward D. Miller

Edward D. Miller, who was born on June 18, 1931, died on July 5, 2022.

Eddie was born and raised in Dorchester. He was the oldest son of John and Helen Miller’s nine children (seven girls and two boys). He cherished his reputation as one of the proudest and most loyal sons of Boston College in the school’s 160-year history, his service as a United States Marine, his hometowns of Boston (specifically, Dorchester) and Milton, and his countless close friends. Most of all, he was proud of his large family.

Eddie loved and adored his wife of 66 years, Patti (Klier) Miller, who grew up in a family of 11 children, first in South Boston and later in the Squantum section of North Quincy. They raised nine children (six girls and three boys) in Milton. All nine children have a Boston College degree, including five graduate degrees from BC. Eddie was always proud to tell anyone that, and he was equally proud that one daughter went to Princeton and one to Harvard and yet another daughter earned a graduate degree from Harvard. Twenty-three grandchildren followed and there are now 16 great grandchildren with one on the way.

Eddie spent his entire career working for Boston College – a career of 40 years that began when he graduated in 1957 with a degree from BC’s Carroll School of Management (the College of Business Administration at the time) and spanned five decades from 1957 to 1996. He could hardly have loved his work more, both in athletics under legendary director of athletics Bill Flynn, and later as the university’s spokesperson during the transformative presidency of J. Donald Monan, S.J., during which BC became a more national university with a multi-billion-dollar endowment.

Eddie graduated from English High School in Boston, where he starred in baseball, hockey, and football. He came to the Heights in the fall of 1953 on the G.I. Bill after joining the Marine Corps and serving in the First Marine Division in the Korean War, becoming a platoon sergeant. At BC, Eddie was a stellar baseball player, and by all accounts, a brilliant defensive outfielder in his sophomore year.

In July of 1955, when Eddie was working a construction job and playing in the Boston Park League, America’s oldest amateur baseball league, he was stricken by the polio virus. He spent the next 10 months in the Veterans’ Hospital in Boston, keeping up with his course work at BC by listening to reel-to-reel tape recordings of each class, until he could return to campus in May of 1956. His doctors did not expect him to ever walk again but he did so within less than a year. His unbridled optimism and fierce determination would let nothing stand in his way. With one leg completely paralyzed and the other partially paralyzed, he essentially walked with his powerful arms, swinging on silver German crutches around the Chestnut Hill campus he so loved, on city streets and up a couple of hundred steps to the press box in football stadiums that had no elevator.

Eddie married Patti in May of 1956 and the nine children came – one after another – over the next 11 years. The Miller family celebrated its successes together, enjoyed huge, wonderful holiday celebrations in Milton and Boston and summer vacations on Long Pond Lake in Centerville, on East Bay Road in Osterville or in East Chop on Martha’s Vineyard.

Eddie was elected president of his senior class and spearheaded the student fundraising effort to build Alumni Stadium. After starting as business manager of Athletics upon graduation, Eddie was quickly promoted to Sports Information Director (SID), and developed relationships with the college’s administrators, coaches, and athletes, as well as the sports media. He also became the freshman baseball coach, working with head coach Eddie Pellagrini on a coaching staff that led BC teams deep into the College World Series in 1960, 1961, and 1967, including a third-place finish in 1961.

Within just a few years, Eddie was considered one of the top SIDs in the country. One Boston sports broadcaster, a Holy Cross graduate, said, “Eddie Miller was the best sports publicity director in the country – ever! It’s not even close.” The football press box at Alumni Stadium is named for Eddie and for his successor and former student assistant, Reid Oslin.

Eddie became director of university public relations in 1974 but made the role about so much more than media relations. While his title or job responsibility never formally included development or fundraising, he played an integral role in securing major gifts for two renovations of Alumni Stadium as well as for critical new buildings, including Conte Forum (the hockey/basketball arena), the Tip O’Neill Library, and the Robsham Theater.

Eddie was a trusted advisor to President Monan during a period of extraordinary growth for Boston College, leveraging his huge network of relationships with the likes of then Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, mayors, governors, and captains of industry, notably the burgeoning group of BC alums who have done so much in business and even more in their charitable endeavors, from Wallace Carroll to Jack Connors, Peter Lynch, Bill Connell, and John Harrington. Their family names are on BC buildings all over the campus and in Boston’s best hospitals and museums. More importantly, they have championed causes for those who need help most. Camp Harbor View, the battery of programs Jack Connors founded to help young Bostonians and their families, is just one example of that.

Eddie received his MBA degree from BC in 1967, writing his thesis on Title IX. He was “all in” on equal rights for women and Black college athletes in college in the 60s and 70s during his 15 years as a nationally influential sports publicist. In 1990, he earned his doctorate in administration of higher education, writing his dissertation entitled “Fulfilling a Mission: Profiles of Outstanding Student Athletes at Boston College” on the role that a Jesuit education played in the formation of BC’s student-athletes across several decades from Bill Flynn to NBA All Star Michael Adams, to Doug Flutie.

Business travel could be grueling in the 60s and 70s, especially for someone with Eddie’s disability. There were many long drives and flights on puddle-jumpers—not-so-glamorous weekend trips to Ithaca for a hockey game against Cornell or to St. Lawrence and Clarkson or Syracuse for a basketball game on a Tuesday night in February in a snowstorm. Eddie didn’t mind – he was always seeing the payoff, spending a week in Nashville to promote a football game against Vanderbilt, including a live appearance on the Grand Ole Opry and stirring upsets over Texas A&M and the Texas Longhorns; and watching his pal, Doug Flutie, engineer wins over Clemson, over Alabama at Foxboro, and the Miracle in Miami.

Best of all, he enjoyed seeing BC beat Notre Dame nine times out of 14, including winning six straight; seeing his friend of 60-plus years, Jerry York, lead the Eagles to four national championships in hockey and another lifelong friend, Bob Cousy, coach BC hoops for six seasons, advancing deep into the NCAA tournament and making it to the title game in the NIT.

Well into his BC career, Eddie had the opportunity to moonlight in the travel business, thanks to his good friend from childhood, Irwin Chaftetz. He, Bob Cousy, and Bill Flynn promoted trips for American International Travel Service to Miami, Las Vegas, Hawaii, Europe and the Caribbean. They made some extra money but, more importantly, they had so much fun with their wives, Patti Miller, Missy Cousy, and Marie Flynn.

Eddie’s numerous awards and recognitions included being inducted into the Boston College Athletics Hall of Fame and the Park League Hall of Fame, as well as the Sports Information Director Award from the All-American Football Foundation and the Press Box Award from the New England Writers, among others. It wasn’t awards that made Eddie so special – it was his charisma, his irrepressible spirit, his courage and determination, his love for Boston College and the Society of Jesus, and, above all, his unconditional devotion to his family.

Among his many community and civic activities, Eddie was president of the Milton Hospital Board of Directors, the Milton Academy Parents’ Association, and the NCAA Hall of Fame Committee. He served as both president and commissioner of the Boston Park League for more than 20 years. He co-authored (with his daughter Michelle) “What I Do Best, The Biography of Wallace E. Carroll.” Wallace, a friend for whom the BC Carroll School of Management is named, was an accomplished entrepreneur, businessman, and philanthropist.

Eddie is survived by his devoted wife, Patricia (Klier) Miller, and by his nine children: Jeannie Hynes of Milton; Stephanie Greene and her husband Tom of Boston; Eddie Miller Jr. and his wife Julie (Cook) of Milton; Christine Miller of Centerville; John D. Miller of Boston; Michelle Miller of Providence, R.I.; Gretchen (Miller) Johnson of Needham and her husband Chris; Gregory Miller and his wife Helen of State College, PA and Julie (Miller) Freking and her husband Dean of Milton.

Eddie is also survived by two sisters, Kathleen Riley of Weymouth and Margaret Miller, and is the brother of the late Rosamond Abbott, Frances Lynch, Virginia Sullivan, Marie Melchin, Louise Burke, and Gerard Miller.

Eddie is also survived by 23 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren: Bridgette Hynes (Fox and Poppy Griffin), Alexandra Sullivan (Chance, Shea, and Aiden Sullivan), Rebecca Aiello (Sienna, Jackson, and Lydia Aiello), John B. Hynes IV (John “Jack” B. Hynes V), Patricia Fayne (Barrett and Scarlett Fayne), Tucker Greene, Natasha Greene, Melissa Falvey (Summer and Bryan Falvey), Elizabeth Sytsma (George and James Edward Sytsma), John D. Miller Jr. (Reese Miller), Robert Miller, Caroline Miller, Lara Miller, Annika Johnson, Jack Miller, Madeline Miller, Greg Miller Jr., Amanda Miller, Stephanie Miller, Greta Freking, Heidi Freking, Teddy Freking, and Michael Freking; and numerous nieces and nephews.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at St. Agatha Church in Milton, with burial following at Milton Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Edward D. and Patricia K. Miller Scholarship Fund for Boston College, 22 Parsonage Street, Box 293, Providence, RI 02903. Attn: The Edward D. and Patricia K. Miller Scholarship Fund, Giving Account #9208.

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