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E.C. Miller, Elizabethton

Published March 26th, 2012 11:49 pm

Instructor and banjo player!
Mr. E.C. Miller, 76, of Elizabethton, passed away quietly, surrounded by his family, on Sunday, March 25, 2012 in the Johnson City Medical Center Hospital following an extended illness.
He was the son of the late John Herbert and Bonnie Banner Miller and was born in Carter County. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a son, Eric Miller and a sister, Dorothy Hazelwood.
Mr. Miller was among the most respected banjo players in East Tennessee, sharing music with students for more than sixty years. For the last fifteen years, he was an instructor at East Tennessee State University. Among those he taught successfully is ETSU alumna and Rounder recording artist, Beth Stevens.
His recordings include albums with the Toe River Boys—who also appear with him in the film, North Carolina Traditions—and one with bluegrass pioneer Benny Sims and ETSU alumnus Tim Stafford.
An appearance on CBS-TV’s On the Road with Charles Kuralt brought E.C.’s music to a nationwide audience. He authored an autobiographical book which was released about five years ago.
E.C. Miller was one of the most respected teachers of bluegrass banjo in the area. It’s impossible to find someone in the East Tennessee/Southwest Virginia/Western North Carolina bluegrass community who doesn’t know about him or know someone who learned it “the way Earl picked it” from the gentle guy from Carter County, TN, who heard Earl back when the style was in its infancy. He was just a prince of a guy….. We’ve lost one of the good ones. The sound of his powerful banjo playing will be missed. Rest in Peace.
He was also retired from North American Rayon Corporation following twenty-nine years of service. He was a member of Elk Mills Christian Church.
He is survived by his former wife, and the mother of his children, Pat Edney Miller, Roan Mountain; twin sons, Chris Miller and Chad Miller and his wife, Jessica, all of Elizabethton; a granddaughter, Breanna Miller, Elizabethton; a step-grandson, Coy Laney, Elizabethton; three sisters, Ruth Dugger, Eula Reece, Gail Evans, all of Butler; five brothers, Wayne Miller, Hampton; Ed Miller, Roger Miller, Jerry Miller and Don Miller, all of Butler; and a special friend, Carolyn Lyons, Elizabethton. Several nieces and nephews also survive.
The funeral service for Mr. Miller will be conducted on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 8:00 PM in the Chapel of Peace, Tetrick Funeral Home, Elizabethton with Rev. Gary Edwards officiating. Music will be under the direction of the E.T.S.U. pride band. The family will receive friends in the funeral home chapel from 5:00 to 8:00 PM on Wednesday prior to the service and at the home of a son, Chad Miller, 412 Gap Creek Road, Elizabethton at other times.
The graveside service and interment will be conducted at 10:00 AM on Thursday, March 29, 2012 in the Miller Family Cemetery in Butler. Active pallbearers will be Eddie Barker, Mark Blevins, Averil Cooper, Chad Miller, Chris Miller and Josh Miller. Honorary pallbearers will be Bud Hazelwood, Noah Johnson, his former students and all his banjo friends. Those wishing to attend are asked to meet at the funeral home at 9:00 AM Thursday to go in procession to the cemetery.
Online condolences may be sent to the family by visiting and signing the guest book or by fax 423 542-9499.
Tetrick Funeral Home, Elizabethton is serving the family. Office 423 542-2232, Obituary line 543-4917.