Brian Armand Miller
March 27, 1992 - June 29, 2021
So. Burlington, VT
It is with the deepest sadness we share the news that our beloved son and brother, Brian, died on June 29, 2021. Brian is the cherished son of Randy Miller, DDS. and Mary Jo Miller, and the much loved big brother to Mike and Maggie Miller, all of South Burlington, Vermont. Were it not for our abiding faith that Brian is back in the arms of God, and those he’s loved who’ve passed before him, the pain of losing him would be unbearable. Instead, we feel blessed for the many valuable lessons learned from Brian during his short 29 years, and we feel a great responsibility to live the best lives we can, as difficult as that will be, until we’re reunited with him.
We knew Brian would be a rascal from the moment we met him. After laboring the entire 24-hours of my birthday, ecstatic that mother and son would share the same birth date, Brian arrived just minutes after midnight the following day, March 27, 1992. Consequently, I spent my next 29 birthdays preparing for Brians, and we wouldn’t have had it any other way. Brian was his fathers ‘mini me’, best friend, confidante, co-conspirator, mischief maker, and prankster. They epitomize that ‘the apple does not fall far from the tree’! (Have you met his father?!)
He was also a fierce protector of his brother and sister. Anyone who knew the “Miller Boys” growing up, knew that Brian and Mike were an entity unto themselves. There was no Brian without Mike, and no Mike without Brian. They were born 16 months apart. In their early years, they were on every sports team together, played in every band together, always shared the same bedroom…at one point, Brian thought he’d like to try having his own room, so we put him in an adjoining room to give it a go. Every single night, without fail, Mike would crawl into bed with Brian; together, they decided it would be best to ditch the new room and get back to at least having their own separate beds. Despite going to separate colleges and forging new friendships and experiences, they remained two peas in a pod, best exemplified by the fact that for the last few years they’ve dated and fallen in love with sisters. Mike is marrying Killian this September, and Brian would likely have followed by marrying Hilary.
There is no one Brian idolized more than his little sister, Maggie. In his eyes, she was the smartest, most beautiful, most confident, and accomplished woman he’d ever loved. He was excited for her future and whole-heartedly thought of her longtime love, Theo, as a brother.
Brian probably participated in more sports or organized athletic programs than anyone we know. From the earliest age, up through his senior year of high school, he was on swim teams, played football, baseball, basketball, tennis, soccer, golf, he skied, loved riding his snowmobiles and dirt bikes, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, and boating. At one point, he was playing in three basketball programs at once…CYO, Mini Metro, AAU…mostly warming the bench! We’d ask him if this was really what he wanted to be doing, and he’d insist that it was. He loved being with his best buddies and wouldn’t have missed a moment he shared with them. He liked to say he was a prolific sports enthusiast, but a master of none.
What Brian did have success with is playing music, especially the saxophone (although he once won an award for playing drums; go figure!), and he played piano anytime he was home.
Brian was blessed to have learned from the finest music teachers, professors, tutors, and programs that the Burlington area has to offer. And, let’s just say, he gave them all a run for their money! His first sax teacher was Barb Health, from Mater Christi Elementary. That poor woman, but boy did he love her! He then took lessons from Barb Wager, before moving on to Dave Grippo at Tuttle Middle School and SBHS. Dave was an important mentor to Brian and they remained close. Brian also met Alex Stewart while a teenager attending summer music camps at the Flynn Center, so attending UVM was Brian’s one and only choice when it came time to apply to college. There, he flourished under the guidance of Alex Stewart, Ray Vega, and others. At Brian’s UVM senior recital, all of his music teachers and mentors were in the audience. He was overwhelmed by the turnout that day and savored the memory. By far, however, Brian’s happiest moments were spent playing music with his father and brother, “The Miller Trio.” They started performing gigs when Brian was nine and Mike was eight. How happy the three of them were…he also loved playing with, or sitting in with, the bands ‘What’s Good,’ ‘Smooth Antics,’ ‘Smalltalker,’ ‘B-Town,’ Mark Lamphier’s ‘Muskat Jazz Band,’ ‘The Phil Abair Band,’ ‘Queen City Quartet,’ ‘Mr. French,’ even the late great Larry McCrory and Big Joe Burrell. He’d play Amazing Grace at funerals or music for any birthdays, anniversaries, or fundraisers he was invited to support.
At his core though, Brian was a true nerd, and proud of it. He loved Legos, video games, virtual reality, Dungeons and Dragons, chess, cornhole, ping pong, writing, collecting swords, dressing for Halloween, cooking, and caring for his animals. And he LOVED Camp Abnaki; he attended every year, rising to Junior Counselor and Arts and Crafts director! One person he loved spending time with is his youngest cousin, Jack. A fellow nerd who sports a man bun just as Brian did for years, they will forever be kindred souls.
Brian was kind, gentle, soft spoken, eloquent, compassionate, loyal, funny, creative, and fiercely protective of those he loved. He was also a classic Aries, first-born, stubborn, hard-headed, sometimes sneaky, risk-taking, thrill-seeking guy, and it was impossible to win an argument with him. What he did do, however, was express remorse, regret, and tried to make amends when he knew he was wrong. Alcohol was not Brian’s friend, and he battled that addiction for years. He would want to leave us with this message…If a young man or woman drinks too much, say something. It’s not a game; it’s a symptom, a disease, and it can take everything of value from you.
We have received an outpouring of visits, notes, posts, cards, phone calls and gifts from countless family members and friends, all so beautifully written and spoken. All mention Brian’s compassion, loyalty, talent, and ability to make so many of them think they were his best friend. They will keep his light shining for us in the years ahead and we are eternally grateful and filled with love for them all. And for the classically worst-dressed, self-proclaimed ladies’ man on the planet, Brian was lucky at love. Somehow, he managed to stay close to the gals’ he dated, gals our family instantly loved and still love.
The love of Brian’s life for the last four years has been Hilary Kozlowski. Brian would have done anything in his power to keep Hilary from hurting as much as she is. It is heartbreaking. We know he will wrap her in his arms for the rest of her days, as will we. We love you, Hilary. And your parents Rick and Tracy, and your precious sister, Killian, our soon-to-be daughter-in-law. You and Brian were so well suited, had such a love for all things geeky and twisted, always had a ball, even when you were driving each other crazy. We also got such a kick out of watching you raise the ‘family’ you created with one another, with your beloved dogs, Link and Hudson, and Liam Neeson, the female cat.
Brian, Mike and Maggie grew up with the finest grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, honorary family members and friends. Papa Butch and Grandma Barb Dion were a constant presence in their lives, living with us on Spear Street seasonally for 16 years. Their paternal grandparents, Bing and Lorraine Miller, although gone too soon, were spoken of, touted and well-loved, always. There are two men Randy and I considered essential ‘third parents’, Dr. Buzz Land and Monsignor Michael DeForge. We covered all parenting bases by leaning on these two exceptional people to help us raise our children. We feel their love of Brian and their comfort has kept us focused on the beauty of his life and the peace and comfort that now surrounds him in heaven.
We thank, and will endlessly love, the Miller, Dion, Wells, Atkins, Corley, Charlebois, and Galle families, beyond measure. We are so sorry that Brian’s death has bruised all of your hearts, but rest assured that he valued every single moment with every single one of you, and he will welcome you with that beautiful smile and that warm hug whenever you join him.
A memorial Mass will be celebrated Friday, July 16, 2021 at 12:00 noon at St. Frances Xavier Catholic Church, 3 St. Peters Street, Winooski, Vermont.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Brian Miller Music Foundation, Inc., a charity promoting the teaching and mentoring of music in remembrance of Brian. Donations can be made via brianmillermusicfoundation.com or by sending a check to: Brian Miller Music Foundation, Inc., 1201 Spear Street, South Burlington, Vermont 05403.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Brian A. Miller, please visit our floral store.