January 20, 2016 // Local

Father Paul Miller, eldest priest, dies

FORT WAYNE — Father Paul D. Miller, the oldest living priest in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, died Jan. 13. He was 99.

Father Miller was born one of the 12 children of Ira and Mary (McNulty) Miller on Oct. 4, 1916, in Huntington where he attended grade school at St. Mary’s. After his graduation from St. Joseph College in Renssalear in 1938, he went on to St. Meinrad Seminary, St. Meinrad, to study for the Priesthood. He was ordained to the Priesthood on June 3, 1944, by Bishop John F. Noll at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne.

The young priest’s first assignment was as assistant pastor at St. Mary’s Parish in East Chicago. Subsequently he served as assistant pastor at St. Paul Church, Valparaiso, 1953; Our Lady of Hungary, South Bend, 1953-1956; St. John the Baptist Church, New Haven, 1956; and St. Vincent de Paul Church, Elkhart, 1956.

In 1963, Father Miller was appointed pastor of St. Patrick Church, Lagro, and St. Robert Bellarmine Mission Church, North Manchester. Subsequently, he served as pastor at St. Michael Church, Waterloo, 1963-1970; St. Rose of Lima Church, Monroeville, 1970-1972; and St. John the Baptist Church, New Haven, 1972-1978. In 1978, Father Miller was appointed pastor of St. Rose of Lima in Monroeville. He also served as spiritual director of the Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima and was a member of the Legion of Mary, the Knights of Columbus and served on the Diocesan Liturgical Committee and Deanery Master of Ceremonies.

In 1988, Father Miller, already in his 70s, served as associate pastor of Holy Family, South Bend, where Msgr. Bernard Galic was pastor. Even after his retirement at age 75 Father Miller remained at Holy family to serve the people. Of his associate, Msgr. Galic said, “He was ready to help. He didn’t enjoy doing nothing.”

Father Miller was noted as an admirer of classical music and opera and owned a collection of tapes and CDs that “would rival any shop” said Msgr. Galic, adding, “He had them all cataloged and could put his finger on any one of them. … He knew all the opera scores in Italian.”

Of his priestly service at Holy Family Parish, Msgr. Galic noted, “I think he was most comfortable being with the senior citizens.”

Following his over 40 years of devoted service as priest in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend he retired in 1992.

A member of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Father Miller had been a resident at Saint Anne Communities, Fort Wayne.

Father Miller is survived by sisters Genevieve Kasper of Columbia City, Pat Hay, Huntington, and Helen Martin, Modesto, California, along with many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Robert, James, William and Edward and sisters, Ann Berger, Jeanne Young, Francis Bonewitz and Marguerite Hyser.

Funeral Mass was celebrated on Jan. 18 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception with burial at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Huntington.


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