Dabney N. Miller
Dabney Nevelle Miller, 81, of Topping passed away unexpectedly at his home February 5, 2014.
He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Alta May Woodworth Miller; his children, Warren (Jackie) Miller of Winchester, Lynn (Alex) Miller Serrano of Springfield, and George (Jennifer) Miller of Charles Town, W.Va.; grandchildren, Stephen, Jeffrey, Marta, Dylan and Jared; and nieces, Cindy and Lisa.
He was born on December 25, 1932 in Topping to William Dabney and Ruth Blake Miller. He grew up in a community of watermen and farmers on Locklies Creek and the Rappahannock River. As an only child, he cherished his time with his cousins.
He was a 1951 graduate of Middlesex High School and earned a BS Degree in Biology at William and Mary College in 1955. He served in the US Army for two years in France where he met his future wife Alta. In 1959, following his return to Virginia, Dabney and Alta were married. They moved to Charlottesville and in 1961 he received a MS in Science Teaching from the University of Virginia under a National Science Foundation Grant. He took from UVa new ways of teaching science and the growing field of ecology. For 15 years he taught the sciences in public high schools with his last assignment as the Chair of the Science Department at Fort Hunt High School in Fairfax. Living in close proximity to Washington, DC, he became strongly aware of the many challenges facing urban youth. In 1972, he left the public school system, and with the support of the D.C. based Church of the Savior, became the founding director of the FLOC (For Love of Children) Wilderness School located outside Strasburg. The year-round camp school served children in need of assistance. He remained a member of the FLOC school management board through 1988 leading the construction of an education center and providing onsite support after the school was relocated to W.Va. During this time, Dabney moved his family to Shepherdstown, W.Va., where they lived in an intentional Christian community with several families who built the Rolling Ridge Study Retreat Center in the Blue Ridge mountains.
In his retirement years, Dabney returned to Locklies Creek and was happy to be living in his childhood home, which he had restored, and to be involved in the community he grew up in. He was a member of Harmony Grove Baptist Church where he served as a deacon, taught Sunday school and supervised a Sunday School Program at Grey’s Point Campground. He taught a recovery program at the Gloucester County Jail and assisted the participants as they re-entered society. Most recently, he participated in the Syringa Fellowship that provides an alternative setting for Christian worship. He had a life-long interest in exploring the connections between the sciences and theology.
He deeply loved his wife. He enjoyed his grandchildren and shared with them his love for growing food, taking care of the land, and being on the water.
A service of celebration of his life will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, February 15, at Harmony Grove Baptist Church, Topping. The service and interment of ashes will be preceded by visitation at 10 a.m. and followed by a luncheon at the church for all those attending.
Memorial contributions may be given to the Harmony Grove Baptist Church Benevolence Fund, P.O. Box 138, Topping, VA 23169; or For Love of Children (FLOC) Outdoor Education Center, 1763 Columbia Road, NW, Washington, DC 20009.