Goodbye

Laura M. Porinchak / March 2019

If you read Jerry Smith’s President’s Message this month, you saw that a good friend of AWCI and the industry, Bruce L. Miller, passed away in January. Bruce reminded me of Jimmy Stewart and was one of the people I looked forward to seeing at AWCI meetings. In my early years with AWCI, Bruce was chairman of an AWCI committee, and I was the staff liaison on that committee. This was the mid-1990s, and the industry was good. When life is good, some people would rather tour the city than attend a meeting, and often there were times when Bruce and I were the only two people in a meeting room. It gave me a several chances to get some valuable one-on-one time with him.
    
Bruce was a like a father to me when I was starting my “construction career.” Being a young woman—and often the only woman—in a meeting room can be intimidating. But Bruce took me under his wing and made me feel welcome. Bruce’s aura radiated friendliness. He was truly a nice guy, and I will never forget him.
    
Jerry Reicks won’t forget him either. Jerry, an AWCI member contractor from Iowa, attended Bruce’s funeral and was compelled to write something about him. It’s unusual to do this, but Bruce touched a lot of people in many ways so I am making an exception. I hope all of you have a “Bruce Miller” in your lives. That said, I now turn my column over to Jerry.

An Interview with a Servant Leader
This week I flew to Denver Colorado for a funeral. The man who passed away was 82 years old, and I have known him for over 20 of those years. I have spent three-plus-day increments of time, three times a year for 17 of those years in AWCI Business Forum II, so am qualified to posthumously conduct this interview. Mr. Bruce Miller was for many years the president of a large drywall operation in Denver employing over 400 people. This interview is based on statements from Bruce, his family, his friends and my own experiences.
    
Bruce, your faith has always meant so much to you. How does that fit into the life you have lived? His response was, “My mission in life is to be a God fearing, loving and righteous Christian person.”
    
We know a life lived without purpose is a life not lived to its fullest. What is your goal in life? Mr. Miller said, “My goals are to set good examples for each person with whom I have contact.”
    
How do you intend to do that? Bruce answered, “My examples are ones of love, integrity, honesty and sincerity.” He went on to say, “I will treat others with kindness, compassion, patience and tolerance.”
    
Growing up in Albuquerque you were always active in sports playing football and basketball. You were at almost every basketball game the grandchildren played. I know that keeping fit is important, but is there more? Bruce responded with this pledge: “I will be committed to keeping myself in good health mentally, physically and spiritually. I will be happy, have fun, laugh often and have a good sense of humor.” With that he gave one of his laughs that is distinctly his.
    
You had only two years of college but you are one of the most articulate and thoughtful men I know. How can that be? Bruce responded, “I view life as a continuous learning experience from which I will develop skills, knowledge, wisdom and wealth.”
    
I struggle with a sense of self-worth, but you have overcome that human frailty. How have you done this? Bruce said, “I have learned to know myself, like myself, be responsible and use my time wisely.”
    
Family and friends are of the highest importance to you. What words of wisdom will you share with us to live by? Bruce pondered and replied, it is important to “learn to listen, think, concentrate and dream dreams.”
    
Perhaps with your Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts experiences, you have always lived by a motto. Would you share that with us? Bruce said, “I will make a difference”
    
Mr. Miller, you did make a difference!


Unfortunately, we received more sad news as we were going to press. The industry lost another great when USG’s director of marketing, Kevin Moyer, died suddenly on Feb. 4 after suffering a brain aneurysm. AWCI members who attend AWCI events know Kevin as a key USG representative to the association, the congenial speaker at the President’s Welcome Reception and insightful contributor to the AWCI Supplier & Manufacturer Members Committee and the AWCI board of directors where he was completing his first year of a three-year term in a supplier at-large post. He will be missed.