Joel Hershey MillerFeb. 14, 1935 – Aug. 13, 2017
Joel, a longtime resident and beloved member of our community, passed away Sunday of cancer. He was 82. He is survived by his wife, Fran, sons, David (Renee) and Eric (Barrie) and daughters, Sheri (Ron) Ryan, Lorraine, Barb (“adopted”) (Lonnie); sister Marsha (Charles) Webb; and brothers, Kenny (Fran) and Sam. He leaves many grandchildren (21), great grandchildren (4) and “church kids” whom he loved dearly. Joel is preceded in death by parents, Walter, Dorothy and stepmom, Charlotte, sisters Rita and Janey, son Steve and granddaughter Marquelle.
Born in Philadelphia, the “City of Love,” on Valentine’s Day, Joel grew up back east, graduating from UMass with a BA in Forestry. He journeyed to California with a “hotshot” fire-fighter crew. There, he met Bakersfield native, Frances May, who would become the love of his life for 57 years. He later answered the call to ministry and received his MDiv from Cal Baptist Seminary.
“Pastor Joel” to many, he led five congregations in Southern Cal while working full-time for San Diego County. In 1980 he moved his family to the Valley to pastor Glenwood First Baptist and Apple Tree Church. He retired from full-time ministry in 1995. Not content to be “put out to pasture,” Joel worked many productive years in construction. In addition to the house he built in Silt, he helped found HousingNow and served ten years on the Lift-Up board.
Generous to a fault, Joel gave of his time and treasure to those in need. He was a great encourager and had a way of making others feel welcomed. Those who knew him marveled at his servant’s heart and beautiful baritone singing voice. Hundreds have posted about the difference Pastor Joel made in their lives. His Christmas newsletters always ended, “May we meet again in the robes of immortality.” Indeed, may it be so.
Funeral services will be Saturday the 19th @ New Hope Church next to New Castle City Market. Viewing @ 1 PM, funeral @ 2 PM, reception @ 3 PM and gravesite @ 4:30 PM (Highland Cemetery).
A memorial fund has been established in his name at Alpine Bank.
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