Frederick Leon Miller, Jr.

Frederick Leon Miller, Jr.

Died November 12, 2010

“See something, do something” could serve as the motto for Fred Miller’s life. What he saw was the AIDS epidemic and what he did was redirect his life toward dealing with the consequences of that and other afflictions.

Before the AIDS epidemic hit, Fred was well launched on a legal career. He earned his law degree from Georgetown University in 1968 and a second degree in natural resources law from George Washington Law School in 1974. He worked first for the National Capital Planning Commission as assistant general counsel and then as a trial attorney for the Justice Department. Fred became a partner in the law firm of Duncan, Weinberg, Miller & Pembroke in 1974 and later became its managing partner.

Fred’s life changed in 1984 when he became a volunteer counselor at the Whitman-Walker Clinic, the principal AIDS service provider in Washington, D.C. Within a year, he was elected to its board of directors and three years after that served as volunteer president. Just before he wrote his 25th reunion essay, Fred was elected chairman of the board of the AIDS Action Council in Washington “where I can expand my volunteer involvement in these issues to the national forum.”

In his 25th reunion essay, Fred described his volunteer work at the Whitman-Walker Clinic as “ the thing that has most affected my life. . . Losing friends to AIDS, as I have, is horrible, but being involved in the extraordinary efforts of 1,600 men and women who volunteer their talents, time and love to the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of those who need it in their community is one of the great blessings of my life.”

Then Fred began working part time at his law firm and went back to school – to Catholic University for a master’s in social work. He became the deputy executive director at Whitman-Walker and started his own private therapy practice. It was at Whitman-Walker that he met his longtime partner, Brian Manuel. Brian remembers him “for his love of life, generosity of spirit and eagerness to learn. Those qualities kept him young until his final days.”

In 1995 Fred was diagnosed with non- Hodgkin’s lymphoma and given five years to live. He lived for 15 and, Brian says, “spent those years in the company of friends and family (including his beloved dogs), reading broadly, traveling, working, and – as always – helping others.” Fred died on November 12, 2010.