Harold Miller

Harold F. "Knuck" Miller

1926 - 2021

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Obituary of Harold F. Miller

Harold F. "Knuck" Miller Olean, NY Harold F. "Knuck" Miller, 94, of 211 N. 3rd St., passed away Tuesday (February 2, 2021) in his home. Born September 20, 1926 in Coudersport, PA, he was the son of Mrs. Sadie Miller. On February 11, 1950 at the First Presbyterian Church in Olean he married Arlene M. Jerolds who survives. As a child, Harold earned the lifelong knick name of "Knuck". He was a 1944 graduate of Olean High School where he excelled at several sports and was active in many clubs. He belonged to the '41-'42 Football Club and was a player on that highly successful team. He also served as senior class president. During his high school years he attained the rank of Eagle Scout. He finished high school 6 months early and enlisted in the US Navy in 1943 during WWII. While waiting to be called to active duty, he joined the National Guard. He was later called to active duty in the US Navy where he was trained as a fighter pilot. He took advantage of educational opportunities he may not have ever had and, once discharged, finished his undergraduate degree at Springfield College in Springfield, MA in 1951 as a physical fitness director. He later attained his Masters degree at St. Bonaventure University. He began his early years of employment at the former Socony Vacuum Co. and the Olean Tile Plant. He was also a welder at the former Vander Horst Corp. As physical fitness was always a passion of his, he started working fulltime in 1951 for the Olean YMCA where he was the physical fitness director until 1955. Both before and during this time he, as well as his wife Arlene, coached many youth sports teams. In 1955 he began a career as an educator where he taught history and physical education for Olean High School, and also coached its football and basketball teams. He retired in 1980. Retirement did not slow Knuck down as he continued being helpful to others through his years of service as a Rotary Club of Olean member. He served as a director and supporter of its polio eradication efforts and water well projects and was often a leading ticket-seller for fundraisers. Most notably, his passion for international travel made him a great Olean Rotary ambassador as he and his wife attended many international conventions and several overseas Friendship Exchanges. Locally, he was a host-parent for Rotary exchange students and served as "house parents" for the RYLA program hosted at St. Bonaventure University for several years. He was honored by the club as a Paul Harris Fellow. He also helped fundraise for, and traveled with, the Olean High School wrestling team on its self-funded, once-in-a-lifetime trip to Sweden, as organized by Chuck Curley. In earlier years he belonged to the Y's Men International. He was always a "hometown" man and was a member of Christ United Methodist Church and a former member of First Presbyterian Church of Olean. He was an avid fan of many local sports teams, especially the Olean Huskies. He enjoyed jogging, skiing, and ice skating. He was also a chess fan and taught his family to enjoy the game. He looked forward to attending events yearly at Chautauqua Institution. As much as he enjoyed travel and volunteering in retirement, he most loved being available to experience the joy of being a grandparent. His children and grandchildren will remember him as always having a few lines of a song ready for any occasion. He attended all of their events and was their #1 fan, even if he “had to cheer for Bradford,” as he would point out. He is survived by his wife Arlene, with whom he was nearing 71 years of marriage. He also leaves behind 2 loving children Cathy Zapel of Bradford, PA and Dr. Michael (Daena Feldman) Miller of Annapolis, MD; 3 grandchildren Patrick (Olivia) Zapel of Warren, PA, Katie Zapel of Bradford, PA; Dr. John (Laura) Feldman of Jersey City, NJ; and 5 great grandchildren. He was predeceased by a grandson Matthew Zapel in 2004. A private burial will take place at Pleasant Valley Cemetery. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Memorials, if desired, may be made to the Olean-Bradford Area YMCA, 1101 Wayne St., Olean, NY 14760, the Olean Rotary Club Foundation, P.O. Box 121, Olean, NY 14760 or to a local sport booster club of the donor's choice. Arrangements are under the direction of the Casey, Halwig & Hartle Funeral Home, Olean. Cards can be sent to Arlene Miller at 211 N. 3rd St. or online condolences may be expressed at oleanfuneralhome.com.
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