Tribute: Edward Miller

Ed Miller PhotoThe life of a born-again follower of Jesus was never intended nor touted to be a life devoid of challenges. The Lord Jesus Himself in John 16:33 confirmed that we will see tribulations in this life. Such was the course in the life of Edward Miller, devoted servant of his Saviour and heavenly Father. Without an earthly father to guide him in the ways of truth, Ed’s earliest challenge was one of his toughest: fatherlessness. But by the grace of God, the Lord did not end with the promise of tribulations in John 16:33: “But take heart; I have overcome the world.” And it was in this overcoming Lord that Ed put his faith and trust, becoming more than a conqueror in Christ (Rom 8:37). His heavenly Father proved to be his source of strength and grew him into the man of God so many came to know, love and be blessed by throughout his life and devoted service to his God.

Edward Handley Miller was born on August 1, 1936, in Toronto to Daisy Miller. When he was 10 years old, he was sponsored to attend a week at Camp Mini-Yo-We in Port Sydney. On one clear night, Ed looked up into the starry sky and marvelled at what he saw. It was then that he knew in his heart there was a God. That same July week, he came to accept the Lord Jesus as his personal and perfect Saviour, and for the first time in his life, Ed had a Father who loved him unconditionally and would always be there with him every step of the way. It was here that Ed’s journey of faith began. One year later in June 1948, he was baptised at the Victoria Road Conference.

As a young man, Ed began his forty-year career at Bell Canada, where he became an important player in the management of different operations and teams. His strength of character and Christian morality would cause him to miss out on lucrative promotions at Bell, but he was content with that. He was satisfied to live a Christ-honouring life, without the need for any laud or approval of man, even if that would mean a lighter salary and less recognition. In 1958, Ed married Millie Barker in Sundridge; the newlyweds settled in South River, where they had their first two sons. Ed became an elder in the local assembly, where George Shivas took him under his wing and became his mentor in the ways of the Lord. George was a godly father-figure in Ed’s life until his home-calling in 1963.

Ed and Millie moved to North Bay, where Millie bore their daughter and youngest son. In 1967, Ed gave his first series of gospel meetings with Clarence Black. After one of Ed’s meetings in South River, he and Clarence were chased around by several troublemakers before managing to lock themselves inside the building.

Ed became an elder at the assembly in North Bay, and later in Sudbury, where he and Millie moved in 1970. From here, his ministry evolved to include home-based Bible readings, children’s meetings and gospel meetings both in church buildings and in tents. On one occasion, an ill-wisher tried unsuccessfully to sabotage the tent by cutting the supporting ropes. Despite working full time and raising four children with Millie, Ed would not let this get in the way of his calling to labour for the Lord. He would spend his holidays in meetings mostly across northern Ontario until he was commended in 1994.

In later years, he ministered in southern Ontario, Wisconsin, and Iowa as well. These meetings, with some such as Ken Moore, George Patterson and Sam Patton, saw souls saved. Ed’s ministry also included faithful visits to those who were ill, elderly or otherwise bedridden.

Ed’s desire to labour for his Lord often took him outside of Ontario, including to Saint Lucia. Between 1978 and 2010, multiple visits to Saint Lucia saw him working closely with Brian Owen to present the gospel and help the brothers and sisters there in the work. On Ed’s visit to Saint Lucia in 1979, Hurricane David devastated Dominica. Undeterred, he ventured to Dominica with shipments of supplies to help with hurricane relief. The ministry he and his fellow workers gave in the region saw souls saved.

Ed saw Zambia’s need for the gospel and acted on it. In 2002, he began to assist MSC’s initiative to load containers with food, clothing, tools, vehicles, etc. bound for Chitokoloki, Zambia, using his handiness with machines, like forklifts, to aid in this endeavour. In 2006, Ed ventured to Zambia on his first of several visits to Africa between then and 2014, where he presented the gospel to the Zambians. He helped install solar panels for the Chitokoloki Mission Hospital, using his invaluable knowledge of electrical work to provide 24-hour power to the hospital, which had previously only had sporadic power two hours a day. On one occasion, Ed was called into action rather spontaneously to take over piloting a plane in the wake of the pilot’s severe and sudden ailment, saving the pilot and passengers’ lives by flying the plane to awaiting medical assistance. The Lord’s providence was on full display by placing Ed, who had piloted planes years prior, in this position for such a time as this (Est 4:14).

From Sudbury, Ed and Millie moved to Stouffville in 2000. Ed became a steadfast brother at the Unionville assembly, where he and Millie spent several years teaching English and the gospel at ESL classes. He also taught Christianity Explored for several years in Uxbridge with the help of Bob Diebel. All the while, Ed continued to bring the gospel to many other communities. On February 10, 2022, his life-long faithful ministry was finally over; in the early hours of the morning in Markham, Ed was called home to be with his Father after a very trying few years battling a number of health challenges. Yet through all of these challenges and the many more known only to him and the Lord, he chose to keep his eyes on things above, ever pressing on towards the goal for the prize of the upwards call of God in Christ Jesus (Php 3:14). Ed has now reached the end of his race, but many of the lives he has touched continue on, including those of his wife Millie of 63 years, his four children John, Dave (Connie), Liz (Paul Stainton) and Phil (Jane), and six grandchildren. Ed’s desire was for the world to know Jesus, and in this regard, he was a true soul-winner whose heart for the lost and eagerness to help others will not soon be forgotten.

Ed’s funeral was held on February 17 in Markham, with tributes presented by his four children and grandson. His dear friends Paul Stainton, Tom Browning, Ken Paisley and Paul Markle also shared at the service.