Strathard Heritage Archive

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David Miller 1935-2020 a personal appreciation

A longstanding resident of Kinlochard, David Miller was a man of many parts, talents and interests. Before offering a personal appreciation, some background to David’s life.

David was born in 1935 in Wolverhampton. He was the son of a Scottish diplomat, Sir J W E Miller, who was stationed in the Middle East, and as a result he was brought up by the relatives of JWE’s wife in the Midlands. David came to Scotland as a school boy to his father’s old school, Edinburgh Academy. After completing his National Service, he read history and law at Cambridge.  In 1960 he joined J&P Coats as a management trainee. International placements lead to David spending time abroad where he met Saffrey. In retirement he had an extensive range of interests. Here in Strathard he was Chair of the Vestry at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church and for several years the Chairman of Loch Ard Local History Group (LALHG).

David and Saffrey met on a tennis court in Melbourne and were married in 1965. They purchased Blairuskin Lodge in 1970. In a presentation he recalled “I loved the road to Inversnaid, I used to walk in the nearby hills with a friend when we were training at J & P Coats and had often passed the then white gates and wondered what lay behind them”.

They had 4 children: Andrew, Simon, Matthew and Katie. Matthew died of cancer in 1990 but his memory continued to feature strongly in the lives of the Millers. The bluebell wood known as “Matthew’s Wood” and the occasional appearance of his Morris Minor on the B829 were such reminders. Shortly after Gillian and I moved to Kinlochard we met David and Saffrey and enjoyed their great support and friendship throughout the rest of their lives.

For several years, David was the Chairman of the LALHG and until his death continued to be an active committee member. David’s network and contacts were vital in being able to maintain an interesting and varied programme. David and Saffrey hosted pre meeting suppers for our guest speakers.  This meant that managing to get to the Village Hall after a feed from Saffrey and exposure to David’s drinks cupboard was never easy!  The experience was not just about the good food from their garden, it was the hospitality, friendship and camaraderie around the table. 

I saw David a few days before his death and I met the “classic” David – a wee anecdote of his family history associated with Bonnie Prince Charlie and then he spoke about his children and grandchildren, of whom he was enormously proud. I will remember David as a truly good human being. Kind, considerate, family and community oriented, a fast mover on the road but also behind a table tennis bat! A lifelong collection of clocks, a soft spot for cars and an excellent angler added to the richness of his character and interests. David was one of the most supportive and encouraging people I have ever known.

I am sure there is much sadness about David’s death. I am thankful that he had a supportive and loving family and he died where he wanted to, in his lovely home overlooking the beautiful garden which he and Saffrey created and shared so generously. 

May he rest in peace.

James Kennedy, friend, neighbour and Chairman of LALHG August 2020.