Doug Miller ministered to the homeless who live in a tent community near Hamilton Plaza while he lived among them, homeless himself.
“He was such a good man and had such an anointing,” said Barb Barker, one of the people closest to him. “He helped so many people.”
Miller, who was known at the camp as “Pops” and “Preacher Man” at the homeless camp, died Tuesday morning. He was 59.
“He was homeless by choice — that’s what he wanted to do,” said Barker, who helps the homeless with Hand of God Ministry. “He wanted to be there for the homeless, because they needed him. He felt that was his calling.”
“He could have very easily have gotten a place of his own,” she added. “But because his heart was with the troubled people, the homeless people, the addicts…. He saved so many lives. There was not one overdose that happened while he was on the hill in the past year.”
As an advocate for the tent community known as “the hill,” “he fought like crazy for these people to be taken care of,” Barker said.
In recent months Miller was getting sicker because of ongoing health issues and his inability to take medications to treat them, according to Barker.
A celebration of his life is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 17, at Bloodline of the King Ministries, 2409 Dixie Highway, his home church.
Friends are seeking an indigent cremation for him through the city of Hamilton.
“He affected a lot of people,” said Chris Ross, another close friend. “He’s going to be missed.”
Miller was kind with people, but straightforward in providing sound advice, Ross said.
“He knew them all so well, and he’d say, ‘You can’t just sit around and wait for things to fall in your lap,’ but he did it in a loving way. He wasn’t mean or abrupt. He was a kind-hearted person,” Ross said.
Miller was born Nov. 17, 1958, in Hamilton and graduated from Talawanda High School. An ace mechanic, he worked at Miller Motor and also in the automotive department at Walmart. He is survived by adult children Danielle, Michelle, Marshall, Aaron and Andrea.
Barker said she and Miller recently visited inmates at Lebanon Correctional Institution, and while she was occupied helping someone, “I turned around, and he’s praying with six different people. Didn’t know who they were. He’d do that at Walmart. We’d go to the grocery store, and he’d be praying with people in Walmart.”
“When people would bring food up to tent city, when the donations would come in, he would not eat until the last person up there had food,” she said. “If there wasn’t any left, he went without, and him homeless himself.”
Last week, various social-services agencies met with the homeless people living in the tent community near Hamilton Plaza.
Organizations including Butler County Job and Family Services, Legal Aid, health departments, Sojourner (which helps people conquer addictions) were among those present, allowing prospective clients to connect with them.
Some nearby business owners have been frustrated by people panhandling and loitering.