Remembering the life and works of Jerry Miller, former South Bend Mayor and St. Joseph County Commissioner

NOW: Remembering the life and works of Jerry Miller, former South Bend Mayor and St. Joseph County Commissioner

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Jerry Miller, a former mayor of South Bend and commissioner of St. Joseph County, passed away last week at age 90. His funeral is scheduled for later this week.

Miller had a tremendous impact on the South Bend community, reconfiguring the airport authority, making county tax rolls automated, and even initiating construction of the beautiful, multipurpose Century Center on the riverfront in downtown South Bend.

Jerry Miller’s commitment to public duty and government service was described as steadfast. From 1972 to 1975, he served as the Mayor of South Bend. Miller also worked as State Chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party and as a commissioner for St. Joseph County.

In all of these roles, loved ones, friends, and fellow community leaders share that Miller’s selflessness and support of community was abundantly evident.

Jerry Miller’s daughter-in-law, Kimberly Miller, expressed, “I think that anyone who has ever known Jerry knew what a selfless person he was, but those who do not, who have not had the pleasure of meeting him, I think they should know he was a selfless person who always made you feel better about what you did and who you were. And I think that’s how he ran his office and his businesses. You always felt better for having known him.”

Jerry J. Miller, Jr. describes his grandfather as, “A great man. Someone who did a lot of great things for the community. He was a role model and hero for me, and I hope that someday, you know I can be the man he was. Maybe follow in his footsteps.”

Sean Coleman, an at-large common council member for the City of South Bend for seventeen years, has fond memories of Jerry Miller. “Jerry was my friend, my colleague, my mentor, and he was a terrific asset to the city of South Bend in his capacity as the mayor in the early 70s. He was an enthusiast. He was enthusiastic about baseball, about fishing. He was mostly enthusiastic about his family and about the future of the City of South Bend. His crowning achievement I think was initiating the process that resulted in the construction of the Century Center and Island Park, two of the center pieces of Downtown South Bend and springboards for future development,” he said.

Jerry Miller also contributed to the development of the East Race Waterway in Downtown South Bend. According to Peter Nemeth, the Mayor of South Bend from 1976 to 1980, “He [Miller] commissioned the study of the East Race, the Lawson-Fisher Study, the St. Joe River East Race Corridor, and that laid the groundwork for the eventual construction of the East Race [Waterway]. My last year in office, I gave the fire department the go ahead to start it, but Mayor Miller had commissioned the Lawson-Fisher Firm to do the study and that of course was important.”

The current Mayor of South Bend, Mayor Mueller, also speaks highly of Jerry Miller’s contributions to South Bend.

According to Mayor Mueller’s press statement, “Mayor Miller built a strong legacy, and I am grateful for his many contributions to our community that continue to impact South Bend positively today."

Jerry J. Miller, Jr. plans to keep Miller’s legacy alive by holding a fundraising event on August 31, his grandfather’s birthday. ABC57 will share more information about this event closer to the date.

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