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Cover Story

Most of us who work in the masonry industry work hard every day. We want to do a good job, and we are driven by a desire to achieve success. We want to provide the best life we can for our families. Some of us even try to give something back to the industry. We serve our local or national Association. But few if any of us will ever know the degree of commitment it takes to devote your entire life to this industry. One of us did. George A. Miller devoted nearly every waking hour of his entire adult life to this industry. For more than fifty years, George Miller was our Lead Man.

On Tuesday, March 26th, 2002 the masonry industry in general, and Mason Contractors Association of America in particular, suffered a great loss with the passing of George Anton Miller. If the MCAA has a father, it is George Miller. He built this association. He served as our first Executive Vice President from the beginning in 1950 until his retirement in 1993. Even in retirement, George continued to serve us as an advisor, and in particular in the capacity of a Labor Relations Consultant. He did so, until the day he died.

During his fifty-two years of service to the MCAA and the masonry industry, George Miller was always in the forefront of leadership. During his tenure as Executive Vice President, the MCAA achieved many milestones. He was deeply involved with the formation of the International Pension Fund for the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen (IUBAC). He served as a Management Trustee on the IUBAC Pension Fund Board until the early 1990's. George Miller was also instrumental in the formation and development of the International Masonry Institute, the IMI. The IMI was the first such Masonry Promotion effort in the United States and Canada. Funded by Union Masonry Contractors, the IMI continues today as the largest single source of Promotion and Training for the masonry industry.

George Miller also assisted in developing the first formalized Masonry Training materials. MCAA books such as the All Weather Masonry Construction Manual and the Rough Terrain Forklift Training Manual all bear his clear finger prints. These materials are still vital today in training our industry's workforce.

George Miller was a nationally known and respected Management Labor Negotiator. He negotiated International Labor Agreements with the IUBAC and the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA). These agreements are still in use today. Perhaps the most prestigious national recognition George Miller received on the Labor Relations front, was when he was asked to serve on the Construction Industry Wage Stabilization Committee during the Nixon Administration.

The list goes on and on. George Miller was deeply involved in national safety and health issues. He was Co-Chairman of the Laborers' Health and Safety Fund until the day he died. He served as a trustee on the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust for 12 years. He was a member of the ASTM for 36 years. He served on many, many other technical and educational committees throughout the construction industry.

The water was not always smooth. Late in his tenure, the MCAA went through some tremendous change. In the 1980s the MCAA Board voted to open the association to non-union mason contractors. This action was contrary to George's personal and deep feelings about the issue, but was necessary because the Association had begun to suffer huge membership losses. Regardless of his personal feelings, George Miller continued to work hard, and he always represented the entire membership, both Union and Non-Union. He helped build the association back to the strong position it enjoys today. Even in retirement, George continued to work to make the MCAA a stronger force, and a better association for the industry's mason contractors.

George Miller was graduated from Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa with a Bachelor of Science degree in Architectural Engineering. He was a veteran of World War II where he served in the United States Navy aboard the U.S.S. PAVLIC, a rescue and picket ship in the pacific theater. He was married to Betty Bloom for 40 years and is survived by daughters Susie Veberg and Karen Hovorka, and four grandchildren Matthew, Mark, Katherine and Torry.

Each MCAA member owes George Anton Miller a deep debt of gratitude for his total devotion to and his passion for the masonry industry. Our industry is a stronger and better because of his great personal efforts. Here's to you, George Miller. May you Rest in Peace. We are in your debt.

  • George's death has saddened me beyond words, although not totally unexpected, it is still hard for me to accept. Some people say that those who leave a company/industry are quickly forgotten, and I guess that's true in some instances — but not in this case. He was a wise and generous mentor who touched many lives in our industry. We shall miss his counsel. I do already.
         Richard Matthews
         KMCO, Inc.

    George Miller was never too busy to help members solve a problem. Large and small mason contractors reaped benefit from George's expertise.
         Richard Felice
         Forrest & Associates

    George Miller will be missed by the entire Masonry Industry. George was respected and loved by all.
         Donald O. Leonard
         Leonard Masonry

    Whether it was labor relations, jurisdictional disputes or technical issues, George would find the answer. It didn't matter how large a contractor you were, if you were a member and had a problem, George would respond with whatever it took to resolve it.
    In the 30 years I have known George and have been involved with the MCAA, I have never heard him speak badly of anyone. He was one of the few people in our industry that I admired. If I could select a second father, it would be George.
         Lenny Pardue
         L. C. Pardue Inc.

    He was the Masonry Industry's greatest asset and will be surely missed by all of us that worked closely with him.
         Bill Dentinger
         Bill Dentinger, Inc.

    He was truly our "Lead Man" and "Mentor" for the MCAA officers and masonry leaders.
         Donald C. Grant
         Grant Contracting Co.


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