Jess P. Miller, MD

Class Year




Posted on: February 19, 2021

Dr. Jess Peck Miller, II, died on January 29, among family at his home in Hampton. He was born in North Carolina in 1932, and was raised with his three brothers in Staunton, Virginia and Wilmington, Delaware.

He graduated from the College of William and Mary and earned his medical degree from the University of Virginia where he lived on the Range. He finished his medical training at University Hospital in Cleveland where he met and married a beautiful and warm-hearted nurse named Patricia Namy. After two years of Navy service as the medical officer on a submarine, he and Pat moved the family to Hampton in 1964 where they have lived ever since. Together they raised seven children.

Beloved by his patients, and respected by colleagues, Dr. Miller practiced internal medicine in Hampton for forty years. He was Board Certified in Internal Medicine and a fellow of the American College of Physicians. He served on the boards of Thomas Nelson Community College and the Eastern Virginia Medical School.

As a young man he owned and drove some of the coolest cars ever made including a Jaguar XK-120, Austin Healey 3000, Bentley S2, and a 21-window VW bus. An inveterate tinkerer, he restored a 1948 Chrysler and completed projects of all kinds including a solar hot water heater mounted to the roof of the family home in Wythe. He also loved gardening, built his own solar heated greenhouse, and propagated seeds from a carefully cultivated tomato crop which he tended annually until well into his eighties. He loved opera, and unusual sandwich combinations – peanut butter and cucumber for one.

He wrote to classmates that he was an “unashamed liberal” and voted democratic his entire life. He was a frequent supporter of political candidates, “usually the losers.” But he believed in the power of democratically elected government to make change and improve lives.

Although he devoted spare time to many and varied hobbies, his life’s purpose and greatest joy was his family. His 62-year marriage to Pat was a model of devotion and happiness. Constantly present and supportive of his children, he gave each one the confidence that comes from knowing they could never disappoint him. His grandchildren filled his last decades with energy, optimism and mutual adoration.

He is survived by his wife, Patricia N. Miller, children Rebecca Ironmonger, and husband Mike; Douglas Miller and wife Denine; Steven Miller and wife Kay; Susan Briscoe and husband Greg; John Miller and wife Jennifer; and 12 grandchildren, John (J.D.), Nicholas, Emily, Hope, Eric, Katy, Will, Bradley, Thomas, Jess, Jacob, and Isaac. Also surviving is his younger brother, Bill. He was predeceased by two sons, Jess P. Miller, III and Robert Miller.

The family is beyond grateful for the compassionate support of home healthcare staff from Nurse Next Door, private caregiver Yvette Morgan, and the staff of Riverside Hospice. Their dedication, especially in the face of pandemic risks, was a gift without measure.

A celebration of Dr. Miller’s life will be held at a later date when conditions allow. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the American Red Cross or a favorite charity.