YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – A large crowd gathered in the Glenn-McGinnis Hall at Young Harris College to pay their respects to Zell Miller on the campus where he once taught history. The public memorial service was held March 26, 2018, in Miller’s beloved hometown. Miller passed away peacefully March 23, surrounded by family, at the age of 86.
Miller, a conservative Democrat, served as mayor of Young Harris from 1959 until 1960, before serving two terms as a Georgia state senator. Miller was elected as lieutenant governor of the state of Georgia in 1975, holding office for 16 years. From 1990 until 1999, Miller served as Georgia’s governor. Miller was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000, serving until 2005.
One of Miller’s proudest milestones was the creation of the Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally (HOPE) Scholarship Program which provides lottery-funded financial assistance to high-achieving students for post-secondary education. Georgia’s Pre-Kindergarden (Pre-K) HOPE Program offers Georgia’s 4-year-old students a high quality preschool experience in order to prepare them for kindergarten. Since its inception, more than 1.6 million children have benefited from Pre-K programs throughout the state.
Referring to Miller as a Michelangelo of politics, Paul Begala, a Democratic strategist who assisted in helping Miller win the Georgia governor’s seat in 1990, Begala described Miller as a genius.
“Why did this man apply this remarkable genius to education, to economic development, to helping lift up the people that others look down on?” Paul Begala asked. “Because he’d been there. He never forgot who he was, where he came from or who sent him.”
A second service is scheduled at the Peachtree Road Methodist Church in Atlanta Tuesday, March 27. An executive state funeral will be held Wednesday, March 28, in the Capitol rotunda.