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Miller, John F. G. (1877-1939) | Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections

Name: Miller, John F. G. (1877-1939)
Fuller Form: Miller, John Fisher Garr

Historical Note:

John Fisher Garr Miller, “Long John” to the Purdue community, was born on March 23, 1877 to Rev. and Mrs. John Free Miller of Nineveh Indiana.  John graduated from Purdue University in 1903 with a BS degree in mechanical engineering.  He achieved a very illustrious college career and was hailed as one of the most decorated athletes in Purdue history.  He played varsity football all four years at Purdue and was captain of the team his junior year.  During his football career his younger brother, Simeon V. B. Miller, and himself were involved in the 1903 Purdue train wreck.  The wreck occurred outside of Indianapolis when the entire football team was on its way to play Indiana University.  John F. G. Miller sustained minor injuries, but his younger brother was not as lucky.  Simeon fractured both of his legs and was in serious condition after the crash.  Both brothers were lucky to survive the crash that took the lives of 16 people including players, coaches, and fans.  Miller also played varsity basketball all four years.  An article in the Purdue Alumnus described Miller as one of the first “skyscraper” centers in Indiana basketball.  He played first base for the baseball team all four years of his Purdue career.  He was also a track star setting records in shot put, hammer throw and discus, and he won the All-Around Indoor Championship in Athletics his junior year.  During his Purdue athletic career he won 9 “P”s.  Apart from his decorated athletic career John was equally successful in academic endeavors.  He was a Wilbur Scholar of Tau Beta Pi, editor-in-chief of the 1903 Debris, class officer for two years, and a member of the Irving Literary Society.  He was a member of Phi delta Theta fraternity along with his father and younger brother.

After graduating from Purdue, John accepted a position as the head football coach for Earlham College and led them to a 1903 Indiana Athletic Collegiate Conference football championship.  That same year he also accepted a position as a special machinist apprentice for the Chicago and Eastern Illinois railroad.  In 1905 he was offered a sales position at the American Blower Company in Detroit.  By 1917 he had risen to become the vice-president, director, and treasurer.  In 1933 he was named vice-president of the B. F. Sturtevant Company.  At the time of his death in 1939 Miller was the director and past president of the Employers Association of Detroit, the past president of the National Association of Fan Manufacturers, a member of the Advisory Board of the Purdue Research Foundation, Chairman of the General Alumni Committee on Athletics, and was a member of the Editorial Board of the Purdue Alumnus.  John F. G. Miller is also the younger brother of Hugh Thomas Miller the Lieutenant Governor of Indiana from 1905-1909.


1903 Debris pg. 205

The Purdue Alumnus, Vol. 27 No.3, December, 1939, pg. 16

The Purdue Engineer, Vol. 33 No. 5, January, 1939, pgs. 103-104 and pg. 122

Note Author: Nolan Eller

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