Locals fondly remember business leader

Bob Miller battled cancer for a decade
By: Don Chaddock, Telegraph Managing Editor
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News of the passing of Robert “Bob” Miller last week shocked and saddened many in the community. Miller, the senior vice president of FEDCorp and a Folsom resident, passed away Aug. 9. A celebration of life is scheduled next month for 11:30 a.m., Sept. 23, at the Folsom Community Center, 52 Natoma St. FEDCorp, or the Folsom Economic Development Corporation, “serves as the marketing organization and project manager for economic development in Folsom,” according to the organization’s website. Miller is survived by his wife, Candy, and brother, Gene Arrington, and many nieces and nephews. He battled prostate cancer for 11 years and had dropped out of the public eye over the last three months as his condition deteriorated, according to friends. Miller was a past president of the Rotary Club of Folsom. He has also served as president of the Folsom Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and served on the board of directors for Folsom Lake Bank. He was a pilot and previously worked for 31 years at IBM. Folsom City Manager Kerry Miller said Bob Miller, no relation, was highly organized in his role with FEDCorp and helped smooth relationships between the city and businesses. “Bob was probably more connected with the newer businesses that came to town in the past three or four years than just about anybody at the city,” Kerry said. “When we had Joe Luchi on board as the economic development director, he and Bob were like Batman and Robin who went out and met with new businesses to see if there was anything the city could do facilitate or address issues.” He said Bob’s passing leaves a void. “It’s a big loss,” Kerry said. “To fill that role, and to fill it as effectively as Bob performed it, is going to be a very difficult task.” As many others referred to Bob Miller, the city official also called him “a Folsom institution.” “Of course, I’m speaking as a relative newcomer,” Kerry said. “He has left a remarkable legacy. When I reflect back, he was very approachable and he always approached issues in a very calm, organized and thoughtful manner. I don’t think I ever saw Bob Miller out of sorts or even agitated. He was just a presence of reason in a room. He was often of few words, but when he spoke, you listened because you knew what he had to say was well though out.” Kerry said it is hard to believe Bob is no longer with us. “This is a very sad thing. The past few years have been very rough for him,” Kerry said. “Even though you know people don’t live forever, with someone like Bob, you kind of hoped they did.” Folsom City Councilwoman Kerri Howell said she was friends with the Bob and Candy Miller since “at least the early ’90s.” “He was one of the greatest people I ever met,” she said. “He was great for the city and such a great person.” She said he was still cracking jokes the day before he died. “He was laughing and joking until Monday morning (Aug. 8),” Howell said. “He had an unbelievable sense of humor. He was a perfect gentleman and cared very much about this community.” Robert Flautt, CEO of Folsom Lake Bank, said Bob Miller was “Mr. Folsom.” “If anyone can be called that, it was him,” Flautt said. “Bob was one of the key original founding organizers of Folsom Lake Bank. We’re successful today in large part because of his hard work. He’ll be sorely missed.” Flautt said Miller battled cancer for a decade, but lived his life to the fullest. “He treated every day like a gift,” he said. “He was truly an amazing man.” Dave West served in the Rotary Club of Folsom with Miller and is the chairman of the board for Folsom Lake Bank. “I knew Bob for 20 years,” he said. “He was also involved with our Folsom Rotary Foundation.” West said Miller’s role in the service club was crucial. “Miller also received a Rotary International citation for the Four Avenues of Service, which is very prestigious,” he said. “His guidance in Rotary was exceptional. We served also on the chamber together and FEDCorp together.” West said he made everyone feel special. “When we put the bank together, as one of the co-founders, we wanted Bob involved in the bank, too. Not only was he a very close friend and neighbor, but he was a wonderful business leader,” West said. “He was multi-dimensional within the community.” The Rotary Club House was dedicated in his honor in May of this year. “He was one of our founding board of directors for the bank,” West said. “He was someone who had the pulse of the city at his fingertips. He was someone who could be relied on for very good decision making. He understood the big picture and was a long-term strategist.” He said Miller was a “behind-the-scenes kind of guy,” even though he was often in the public eye meeting and greeting people. “He was a terrific friend,” West. “He was an all-around guy and one that would feel at home just about anywhere. We’ve been everywhere together. He’s going to be missed.” Joseph Gagliardi, president and CEO of the Folsom Chamber of Commerce and FEDCorp, said Miller’s passing was a real blow. “He was one of our community patrons, someone who gave back,” he said by phone while on vacation. “He was a great Rotarian and provided a lot of community service to Folsom.” In an official statement, Gagliardi wrote, “He has a full resume as a committed community leader and collaborator here in Folsom. He has been a wonderful business leader, friend and mentor who will be sorely missed.” He said Miller was instrumental in FEDCorp. “Bob truly made a positive difference in the early days of FEDCorp and has always been a champion of our work effort. We express our deepest condolences to Candy Miller for her loss.” Messages regarding Miller’s passing were posted online as news spread. Pia Knight, owner of the Black Rooster coffee shop on Sutter Street, posted her thoughts on the Folsom Telegraph’s Facebook page. “The Black Rooster … lost a great customer and friend. Our condolences to Candy, family and friends,” she wrote. “(He was) such a good man.” “Bob, we miss you,” wrote Jack Falk. “Folsom lost a great man.” Kris Kirkpatrick wrote, “The world lost one of the truly good guys.” El Dorado Hills resident Bill Tobin wrote, “(He was) a good man and an inspiration to the entire community. Rest in peace, Bob.”