Frank L. Miller, 104, a decorated World War II Army surgeon and family doctor who died Monday, Aug. 26, will be buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery on Tuesday, Nov. 12.
A former resident of Jeffersonville, he died at Normandy Farms Estates in Blue Bell, where he had lived since 2002.
Dr. Miller grew up milking cows and gathering eggs on his family’s farm in Collegeville. He graduated from Henry K. Boyer School in Lower Providence Township and studied pre-medicine at Ursinus College. He completed a medical degree at Hahnemann Medical College in 1941, and served a brief internship at Montgomery Hospital in Norristown before joining the Army Medical Corps.
In 1942, he was assigned to the 104th Infantry Division, known as the Timberwolves.
After D-Day, his unit, which was attached to the British and Canadian armies, faced heavy resistance from the Germans after it landed in France and liberated Belgium and the Netherlands before invading Germany.
In 200 days of combat, Dr. Miller tended the wounded despite the battle raging around him. He set up medical stations near the front lines, broke them down, and repeatedly moved the units to be near the fiercest fighting.
He was too busy to dwell on the danger, he told Media News Group in 2012: “I was never afraid.”
He served on the front lines from 1942 to 1945. When the combined armies crossed the bridge at Remagen over the Rhine River and entered German territory, he set up his medical station next to the bridge.
For his valor in battle and efforts to save lives, Dr. Miller was awarded the Silver Star and the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster. He was nominated for the Medal of Honor by his commanding officers, but the request was denied because he didn’t carry a weapon.
Dr. Miller told his family that he never forgot April 11, 1945, when his unit helped liberate the Dora-Mittelbau concentration camp at Nordhausen, Germany.
“He couldn’t believe what he saw, the prisoners walking around on the edge of death,” son Harvey Shipley Miller said. “It horrified him. He tried to help them.”
Dr. Miller was promoted to captain and honorably discharged as a major in 1945. After the war, he stayed in touch with the unit and was named its surgeon general. He was awarded the Legion of Honor by the Four Chaplains Memorial Foundation.
Before the war, he married Betty E. Miller, a sculptor. They had four children.
After the war, Dr. Miller came home and set up the kind of private medical practice that no longer exists, his son said. He had no nurse at his Norristown office.
“He answered his own phone because he said that when patients called, they wanted to speak with the doctor,” his son said.
He took patients in the order they arrived, and after a quick lunch, he made house calls, returning for evening office hours. He also delivered babies at all hours. He served on the staff of Montgomery and Sacred Heart Hospitals.
“He was free of guile and pretension,” his son said.
Dr. Miller enjoyed reading U.S. history and admired George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. He also loved nature and the outdoors. He supported the Audubon Society and conservation causes.
He served on the boards of the Montgomery County Association for the Blind and the Montgomery County Historical Society. For many years, he provided free medical services to priests and nuns in the Norristown area.
His wife died in 2011. A son, Robert Meredith Miller, and a granddaughter died earlier. Besides his son, he is survived by son William Neal Miller; daughter Susan M. Dale; three grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.
A service and interment will be at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.