I was intrigued a few weeks back as my wife and I were out hiking and enjoying the scenery. There are some things in life that are pretty amazing. These are common things that we see at various times, but every now and then there’s an uncommon feature or element to these things. What am I talking about? Did you know that it takes a pineapple TWO YEARS to grow (not that I saw any growing at that time), whereas most other fruit bearing plants grow their particular fruit in less than 2/3rds of that time; or that the odds of finding a four-leaf clover is 1 in 10,000. And in fact, if you do find a four-leaf clover, chances are you are more likely to find a second one close by as it’s an inherited genetic mutation of the plant, which spreads close to another clover plant.

That got me thinking about another thing that’s fairly common. That’s the last name Miller. Just like “Smith…Jones…Johnson” or “Davis”, we all grew up with someone with one of those last names or probably know of someone who carries a fairly common name. This reminded me of a man I know by the name John Miller…John A. Miller. 

John comes from a long line of Millers, but yet is unique in his own right and in many ways. One way which distinguishes this “John Miller” from many other “Millers” you might know today is that this Miller is involved with the Tipp City Foundation. The fund John is involved with is aptly named; “The John S. & Louise T. Miller Memorial Scholarship Fund” and was originally set up in 1983, by Virginia Rockefeller. Virginia was John and Louise Miller’s daughter, who also happens to be this “John Miller’s” aunt.

The Miller scholarship was one of the first, if not the first scholarship fund, to be set up at Bethel school. Its intent was to honor the Bethel township’s farming family by providing scholarships to graduates of that school. Originally handled by the Bethel school, but with limitations on how the school could invest the money, it was later moved to The Dayton Foundation in 1999. Following that, in 2007, the fund was moved to the Troy Foundation, which later separated into the Tipp City Foundation.

Fast forward to the present time and through this endowment, the Miller Memorial Scholarship Fund has been awarded every year since 1984. That’s over 35 years since the original amount of $10,000 was provided to start the fund. While “need” is a primary driver, it’s the scholarship’s interest in the science and medical fields which help fulfill the criterion used for this gift. Throughout the years, other gifts have been given by family members, which has helped grow the fund along with a final donation given upon the death of Mrs. Rockefeller.

This is one of those funds where the term “it keeps on giving” appropriately fits.  Just imagine how many students have been impacted by the generosity of the Millers. John has helped facilitate this fund through many years and is the impetus for driving it forward by being a strong advocate for building a better community through giving. He is an uncommon “Miller” with a common pursuit. Students from all walks of life, various backgrounds with divergent interests, all with dreams of their own who have had their direction in life changed or altered in one way or another. 

So, the next time you’re out and see something which looks fairly common, just remember that there could be something rather “uncommon” in the commonality. You just need to look for it. At least, that’s how I will look at things, especially now when I hear the name Miller! 

I’m going to go on another hike now. Maybe I’ll see a bald eagle? After all, they’re uncommon in our area, but becoming more common every day!

Thanks to Tipp City Foundation Board Member, Bruce McKenzie, for crafting this lovely tribute to the Millers!


The Tipp City Foundation is a member fund of The Troy Foundation. You can make a difference with your dollars in our community by:

  • Donating online here.
  • Making your check payable to the Tipp City Foundation and mail to P.O. Box 626, Tipp City, OH 45371.
  • Setting up a fund or legacy plan by contacting Heather Bailey at (937) 528-2482.

We’d love to stay in touch. Stay connected with the Tipp City Foundation by:

All marketing activities of the Foundation is 100% underwritten by generous sponsors. Please contact us at info@tippfoundation.org for information on how your business or organization can become our partner in philanthropy. 

  • Silver Sponsor – Thrivent Financial (Matt Buehrer)
  • Bronze Sponsors – Advanced Machinery Companies; Dunaway Family Foundation; Dungan & LeFevre; Ever-Green Turf & Landscape; Gibson Law Offices; Monroe Federal Savings and Loan; New Carlisle Federal Savings Bank; Pickrel, Schaeffer and Ebeling; Unity National Bank
  • Friend Sponsors – Captor Corp.; Edward Jones (Neil Nehring); Frings & Bayliff Funeral Home; Minster Bank; RSM US; Turnstone Financial; US Bank
  • Media Sponsor – Tippecanoe Gazette

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