Mr. Durando “Dee” Miller III told his caregivers that he saw “the train to Heaven,” and then passed away peacefully in the early hours of Dec. 14, 2021, after several years of battling prostate cancer. A man of great faith and quiet wisdom, Dee gained inspiration and contentment from his love of the outdoors and his devotion to his family.
Dee was born to Durando Miller Jr. and June Chaffee Miller on Sept. 28, 1944, in Pelham, N.Y. Dee’s love of nature was apparent from the start of his life, and he demonstrated his great affection for trees with his first word, “bee,” as he pointed at the trees in his backyard to which he would later assign creative names. Dee strengthened his connection with nature as he spent most summer weekends aboard his family’s sailboat, Aeolus, exploring Long Island Sound in New York. While Dee preferred learning about the world through outdoor exploration, he recognized the value of education while attending Pelham High School and graduating from Fox Lane High School in Bedford, N.Y. Dee then followed his life-long passion for trees and graduated from the School of Forestry at Syracuse University. Prior to embarking on a career, Dee enlisted in the Navy and was stationed in Adak, Alaska.
After several years in Alaska, Dee returned to the root of his love of trees and moved to Fort Kent, Maine, to work in forestry. He greatly enjoyed the peace and simplicity of life in northern Maine, but eventually chose to move to the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Dee settled in Exmore, in a home surrounded by the forest and the beautiful Chesapeake Bay, in which he swam daily as long as the seasons would allow. Dee spent the remainder of his career working as a surveyor for Shore Engineering, continuing his love of working outside.
Dee married Catherine Dunton Mapp on Nov. 24, 1984, in Belle Haven. Cathy shared Dee’s love of the natural world, and they frequently visited her family’s farm and explored the Eastern Shore together, often with their beloved dogs in tow. Dee was a devoted member of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons Central Lodge No. 300 in Onley, and was also an active member of the Powelton Presbyterian Church in Wachapreague.
Dee is survived by his sister, Jean Miller Hubbell, of Falmouth, Maine; his nephew, Timothy Compton Lackey, and his wife, Heidi, of Whitefield, Maine; and by his niece, Amanda Lackey Murray, her husband, Rob, and their four children, Eliza and Hannah Cote and Daniel and Jonah Murray, of Yarmouth, Maine. He was predeceased by his wife, Catherine Mapp Miller; his nephew, William Davis Lackey Jr.; and his brother-in-law, William Bradford Hubbell Jr.