When it came to better late than never, Dan Miller was the perfect example for the game of tennis.
Returning to the sport he played as a teenager at Cleveland Heights High, Miller was 50 when he once again stepped on a tennis court. He did not leave it for the next 40 years as he established himself as one of the best senior tennis players in the country.
Playing in age-division tournaments around the world, the retired businessman accumulated 35 “gold balls” for winning both singles and doubles championships during United States Tennis Association national tournaments as he played on clay, grass, hard court and indoor surfaces. He also had 16 “silver balls” for his second-place finishes.
He competed during world championships in England, Germany, Austria, Spain, Australia and the United States. He played with and against U.S. Davis Cup member Gardner Mulloy.
Miller, who turned 97 on Sept 26, 2013, won his final tournament in 2006 at age 90 in a doubles competition. As he liked to chide the “older” golfing set, he never considered taking up that game in retirement. “Golfers ride in a cart, go out and hit a ball,” said Miller. “That’s not an athlete. We kid them a lot.”
After gradation from Colgate, he served in the Navy during World War II and saw action during the D-Day invasion at Normandy. During the service he met his wife, Mabel.
After teaching history at Cleveland Heights for several years, he owned and operated the Dan Miller Heating Co. from 1950 to 1980. Living in Mentor, the Millers raised three children.