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Coal Industry Loses Renowned Geologist, Marshall Miller



February 7, 2019 - Marshall Stuart Miller, age 75, lost his battle with Alzheimer’s disease on the early morning hours of Sunday, January 20, 2019. Alzheimer’s disease is called “the long goodbye” and that it was, but we are comforted knowing that Marshall is healed and now remembers all those he loved so dearly. 


Marshall knew at a young age that his life’s work would be in geology. Growing up in Bluefield, West Virginia in a family of die-hard Mountaineer fans, he decided to attend West Virginia University to study geology. He earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in Geology in 1966 and 1973. He was also awarded an honorary doctorate degree (Ph.D.) from WVU on May 13, 2006 with a group that included basketball great Jerry West who was one of his all-time favorite basketball players. 


In 1967, Marshall launched his professional career with Schlumberger Well Services, located in Illinois. Two years later, Marshall became a research coordinator with the Virginia Division of Mineral Resources in Charlottesville, Virginia and published research studies about fuel and mineral resources. In 1974, he returned to his hometown in Bluefield as a fuels geologist for Pocahontas Land Corporation of the Norfolk Southern Railway. He recognized a void in coal exploration practices in the southern coalfields and realized that he could fill that void. He formed his own company in 1975, Geological Consulting Services and later renamed Marshall Miller & Associates, Inc (MM&A). He authored over 25 professional publications on geophysical, geological and engineering topics. Some of his recognitions consisted of being listed among the “Top 500 Engineering Design Firms” in the U.S. by ENR Magazine; selected as a Panelist and Outside Advisor to the United States Geological Survey; recognized in 1993 by Ernst & Young, Inc. Magazine and Merrill Lynch, as Entrepreneur of the year in the Mid-Atlantic Region; selected to the West Virginia Coal Hall of Fame; recognized by WVU for the Distinguished Alumni Professional Achievement Award; and given the National Distinguished Member Award from the Society of Mining Engineers. For many years he was a member of the Old Timers Club.


Marshall also served on many boards including: Bluefield Regional Medical Center; First Century Bank; PEMCO Corporation; Flat Top Insurance Company; West Virginia University Foundation; West Virginia Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, and the Eastern Mineral Law Foundation. As a result, many organizations competed for his time, but he managed to pursue certain passions, becoming a licensed instrumental pilot, and playing golf and tennis with family and good friends.


Marshall was preceded in death by his parents Bernice and Harold Miller, and brothers Frazier and Randy.


Marshall is survived by his wife of 50 years, Sharon Holfeling Miller; daughter Tracy Miller Hash and her husband John, granddaughter Madison Stuart Paine; brother Harold Lee and wife Ellen, sister-in-law Phyllis Miller; nephews, H. Lee Miller, III and wife Joanna, Frazier (Buddy) Miller, Jr., and Greg Miller and his wife Ashley, niece Dr. Barbara Miller Gaither and her husband Dr. Kenn Gaither, and numerous great nieces and nephews. In addition to his family, he is also survived by extended family and friends, and the many employees that he cared so passionately about.


He was quoted in the West Virginia University Alumni Magazine in the Fall of 2004 as saying “I have been very blessed and I can say that I have lived my dream. I don’t think there is one thing I would have changed.”


Visition and funeral services will be held at Bland Street United Methodist Church, Bluefield, W.Va., on April 13, 2019. The visitation will be from 9:30 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. followed by a “Celebration of Life” will begin at 11:00 a.m.


In lieu of Flowers the Miller Family wishes donations to be made to any of the following organizations: 


Marshall Miller Foundation in care of Summit Community Bank, 500 Federal Street, Bluefield, WV 24701, Attn: Julie Johnson

Marshall Miller Scholarship Fund: payable to The Community Foundation of the Virginia’s, Inc., 128 North Street, P.O. Box 4127, Bluefield, WV 24701

Memory Matters. P.O. Box 22330 Hilton Head, SC 29926


Those wishing to share memories or condolence messages with the family may do so by visiting Mercer Funeral Home & Crematory is serving the family of Mrashall Stuart Miller.