Paul Ivor Miller, son of Ferris Miller and Olga Phoenix, my cousin, and brother was born on March 6, 1939, in Kingston. He attended Conversorium Elementary School, which was located on Church Street and later renamed Central Branch Elementary Schools. He received his secondary education at St Georges College where he was successful in the Senior Cambridge Certificate Examinations in 1956. This secured him a job as a Clerk in the Supreme Court, which furthered his love and interest in the law.
In 1965, Paul set sail on the QE II for London to pursue his legal studies after being admitted to the Inns of Court, attached to Lincoln’s Inn. Paul was admitted to the Bar in England as a Barrister in November 1972 and on his return home was admitted to the Jamaican Bar in 1973. While studying in England, Paul traveled to Rome, Italy to meet up with his sister Sheila. He spoke of this trip throughout his life. It was the beginning of his revelation of the history of the African people. Paul dedicated much of his spare time reading about African History and its influence on modern civilization. He was known to spring forth many a spontaneous lecture at the breakfast or dinner table. But that was Paul. A multi-dimensional man. He could have a Red Stripe with the man down the lane while playing dominoes, but he could also challenge the most learned academic or religious expert in their field. His mind was nothing short of brilliant, but his manner was easy and comfortable.
Paul went into private practice and operated from Offices on Duke Street in Kingston. His then-wife, Peaches, fondly remembers his meticulous preparation of cases including oral arguments to be presented in court. She was obliged to listen to these arguments, to point out matters that were not clear to her and to offer any helpful suggestions. He developed a reputation in the learned profession as a master of legal procedures and technical matters. This probably was the result of his years spent as a Clerk in the Supreme Court as well as his prodigious memory, which was almost photographic.
In private life Paul knew and remembered the birthdays of all members of the family including in-laws, recalled events by year, month, day, hour and minutes. For example, sometime during last year he was admitted to the University Hospital and had to undergo surgery. I visited him, just after he had signed the consent form for surgery. About two weeks before he died on July 8th we were talking and that matter came up. He recalled every detail of my visit and of the signing of the consent form down to the minute. If my life depended on it I could not recall the month or day, but only that I visited him in the afternoon about an hour or so before surgery. Clearly, this fantastic ability was a great advantage in his legal practice.
The Paul I knew loved and adored his father, Ferris and his Uncle, Percy. Ferris Miller was an outstanding Civil Servant, who rose to the rank of being head of the Department of Supplies in the Ministry of Finance. Apart from being father and son, they were great friends. They did a lot of things together.
His father, Ferris was easy going and a fun-loving person. Percy, his uncle, was a disciplinarian and more demanding of duties and obligations. Funny enough, Paul was a mixture of both Ferris and Percy. He possessed the easy going, fun loving personality of his father but like his uncle Percy was a stern disciplinarian with his children, expecting shined shoes, beds made before breakfast, flawless diction and impeccable personal presentation. Paul used Monopoly to teach Paul and Ann their times tables by forcing them to buy the Electric company and Waterworks and when he landed on either of those he would not pay us unless they were able to tell him how much very quickly.
In England, he taught little Paul about football, the position and what position was responsible for what area of the pitch (field), buy using matchsticks on the fireplace mantle. Ann watched and also learned about football which Paul and she both love to this day.
Heather and Mitchie fondly remember Paul platting their hair every morning for school after their mother left for the U.S., and it actually looked good. Who knew the skills he had! And then there was the strongly encouraged weekly Sunday matinee/movie classic. Heather and Bob recall visiting Jamaica while dating and Paul insisting that they watch “My Fair Lady” with him. Paul fell asleep within 15 minutes of the start of the movie yet as Heather and Bob watched him in disbelief. And don’t get Kerry started on Paul requiring him to clean his “basement” the morning of his wedding to Mitchie after Kerry had fully dressed in his tuxedo.
Cookie remembers cooking rice for Paul at 11years old, burning the rice and him telling her it was not that bad at all as they all ate and laughed.
Marlon, Paul’s second oldest son, remembers connecting with Paul in Jamaica, having lunch with him and spending the night together at the house. They spoke of a mutual love of history and of their similar laugh and voice. Marlon later shared a similar experience in Giza with his son Andrew and fondly remembered this time shared with his Dad, Paul.
All Paul’s children knew he loved them. When they were young, he was a doting father and as they grew his expectations of them grew also. He inspired his children to be great at what they did and to excel. He wanted nothing but the best for all of them.
The truth is that no matter how dire and difficult the circumstances, Paul always held a proud and positive view. He would give the most optimistic forecast on the future and held his head high. He was not one to flinch whatever the circumstance. Sartorial elegance, an upright bearing, the Queen’s English and personal hygiene were very prominent in his lifestyle. Paul was a proud man, reticent to admit his faults and failures but humbled by the disease that ravaged his body and the God who held his fate in His hands. He was continually grateful for the many family members, friends, and loved ones that showed him love, care, and support.
In Mathew’s Gospel Chapter 20 Jesus spoke the parable of the landowner who went out to hire workers early in the morning, then at the third hour, the sixth hour, the ninth hour and the eleventh hour. He offered them all the standard wages for a day’s work: one denarius. At the end of the day, when he paid the same wages to all, some of those who started early complained that they had borne the burden and the head of the day while those who were hired at the eleventh hour only worked one hour. Jesus pointed out that the entitlement of each was a day’s wages. Further, if He chose to give the same wages to all, regardless of when they were hired. It was His to give and not theirs to demand more. Fortunately, Paul had the opportunity to enter the Kingdom at the eleventh hour. This is an opportunity that does not come to all. In this regard the family thanks, Rev Dr. Burchell Taylor for his interactions with Paul, including the sharing of Christian literature with him.
A few days before he died, as he became weaker, Paul told his daughter Ann that his life was now in the Hands of the Lord. She reminded him that this is where it always was. Of greatest importance is the fact that he confessed this acknowledgment.
Paul passed from this life to the next with the full knowledge of the love and care of his family, and from all appearances at peace with his Lord.
Goodbye Paul we all hope to see you on that Great Day.