Todd Miller, a local businessman and prominent figure in Milwaukee’s Jewish community, was killed in a one-car crash on Highway 145 on May 27. He was 61.
Miller was killed when his car burst into flames after striking a freeway barrier head-on near the Park Place Avenue off-ramp, according to media
The cause of the crash is considered inconclusive, according to a Milwaukee County Sheriff’s spokesman, due to the substantial destruction at the scene.
Heavily supportive of Jewish education in Milwaukee, Miller helped open Yeshiva Elementary School in 1989; the Milwaukee Kollel in 1989; and Torah Academy of Milwaukee in 1991. He also contributed to Friendship Circle, a nonprofit providing support for those with special needs.
He was a member of the board at the Wisconsin Institute for Torah Study and also the Milwaukee Jewish Federation.
“We are all mourning the loss of a community leader who impacted so many organizations, inspired others to be philanthropists, and was deeply committed to the future of Jewish Milwaukee,” said Miryam Rosenzweig, president and CEO of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation.
“His legacy is one that we will all have to work to honor, through our nurturing of new leaders and our building of community.”
Miller’s specialties were building and fundraising. He oversaw the construction of a new Torah Academy building in 2008, raising the necessary funds almost singlehandedly, and did the same for a major addition to the Yeshiva Elementary School building in 2001.
“He coupled dreams and vision with an extensive knowledge of the process that takes a building from the need to the drawing to a reality,” Torah Academy administrator Trudy Farber explained.
“He never did anything halfway,” said his longtime friend Alan Borsuk. “If he said he was going to do something, he would go all out. He created buildings that are filled every school day with an enormous amount of learning, energy and vitality.
“He loved to help people. It’s as simple as that. And he did it with great gusto and commitment.”
Miller was born and raised in Milwaukee to Burton and Donna Miller. He earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Tampa and then returned to Milwaukee. Growing up, he did not have much involvement in Judaism, but after his marriage to Terry (née Lehman) in 1979, they gradually became more interested and active in the Jewish community.
Over the years, Miller owned and ran several businesses, including Miller’s Carpet Company, a commercial venture that he operated in Milwaukee for more than 35 years; and a residential property company, Miller Management.
He was also, according to Borsuk, a talented sleight-of-hand magician who enjoyed entertaining people at events.
His civic work and volunteerism also extended throughout the broader Milwaukee community.
“His leadership knew no bounds,” said NAACP Milwaukee president Fred Royal, Jr., “and the impact he had on Milwaukee was immeasurable.”
The funeral was held on May 28 at the Goodman-Bensman Funeral Home.
Miller is survived by his wife Terry Miller, their 7 children and 17 grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Friendship Circle Bakery, Congregation Beth Jehudah, Torah Academy of Milwaukee, Wisconsin Institute for Torah Study, or Yeshiva Elementary School.