The e-mail from Carlisle Events' Communications Specialist Becky Kunzman was jarring-expected, unfortunately, but certainly not this soon.
"Elliot S. 'Chip' Miller passed away on March 25 at the Mayo Clinic at the age of 61. He was surrounded by loved ones in his final moments."
"Chip left this world 'without any pain,' his family said. "He had a smile on his face, which let us know he was happy to move forward on his journey to a much better place."
Chip Miller, co-founder and partner with Bill Miller (no relation) of the annual Corvettes at Carlisle show, was diagnosed with primary Amyloidosis, a rare plasma cell disorder that attacks the body's main organs, last December.
A native of Pennsylvania, Chip was a lifelong car enthusiast, with an especially intense love for Corvettes. In 1966, he married his high school sweetheart, Judy Lachman. In 1974, Chip and Bill Miller started the first automotive event in Carlisle. In 1981, Chip and Bill purchased the Carlisle Fairgrounds, and both then devoted their attention to Carlisle Events on a fulltime basis. Carlisle Events now puts on 12 automotive events each year. In 2003, over a half-million people came to events at the Carlisle Fairgrounds.
I never got to know Chip very well, but our few meetings were warm and cordial. He always seemed to be enjoying himself, having a great time, and happy to be doing something he truly loved. My memories of Chip are of a good, decent, and gracious man, and the events that he and Bill Miller organized and hosted were-and are-lots of fun and very participant friendly.
Chip's contributions to our hobby are immense, almost incalculable, and he will be sorely missed. I believe that he'll be remembered at least as much for the warm, decent, and friendly man he was, as he will as a giant in the hobby.
I'd like to let four people who knew Chip Miller well, his son Lance; contributor and former Corvette Fever Editor Richard F. Newton; writer and Corvette historian Walt Thurn; and Mike Yager, founder and chief cheerleader of Mid America Motorworks, offer their thoughts and memories about him.
Goodbye, Chip, requiescat in pace, you will be missed.
Life Is Good...Nothing less than the best! Life is goodThe memorial for my father was superb! I truly appreciate everyone who supported us through these times. I'm still amazed at how many people my father has touched throughout his life.
For those of you who weren't able to attend the service, I'd like to share my eulogy for my father's passing with you. Here it is:
I'm going to go over a few meaningful words that I feel describe my father best and give a brief description or story for each.
Thoughtful, Courageous, and Caring:From small things like picking up a piece of garbage that's lying on the ground and throwing it away or opening the car door for my Mom after dinner. To the bigger, more courageous things like having the doctors takes the medical IVs out of his arm to ensure that we, his loved ones, wouldn't have to see him suffer any longer than need be. And, on a brighter note, giving his beloved wife a 35th Anniversary Corvette with only 35 miles on their 35th wedding anniversary-that's special!
Thank you for being so thoughtful, courageous, and caring, Father.Love, Compassion, Integrity, and Expressiveness:
"Love" is a word many of us don't use frequently enough because we're unsure of others' reactions. Dad expressed this powerful word to his many loved ones with ease. Love is something much deeper than words could ever describe.
It's what we are all feeling right now in this room.
Thank you, Dad, we're feeling your love now and we will for eternity.
Thankful, Forgiving, and Sincerity:
Dad and I had many precious moments. I'd like to share a brief story with all of you.