Jay B. Miller, revered for his pivotal role in the success of Lancaster Farming, died on New Year’s Day.
He was hired by the newspaper’s founder, Robert Campbell, in 1974, and as advertising manager he helped double the number of subscribers within a year. The paper grew rapidly during his tenure, in part because of his approach to customer service.
In a 2015 interview with Lancaster Farming, marking the paper’s 60th anniversary, Miller said face-to-face contact is the best way to build trust and an understanding with customers that “someone cares.”
And while he played a significant role in developing the newspaper that readers see today — including a massive expansion of the Mailbox Markets section and auction sales — he credited that growth to the team effort.
“Always remember, you are only as good as the people that surround you,” he said in that 2015 interview.
Two of those team members were Tom Otis, former production manager, and Karen Hoffer, current national sales rep.
“I was fortunate enough to be working with Jay during what was probably the most rapid expansion of Lancaster Farming,” Otis said this week. “To a large number of our friends and advertisers, he not only represented the paper, but was ‘Lancaster Farming.’”
“I strongly believe Jay laid the groundwork in advertising that helped make Lancaster Farming so successful,” Hoffer added.
Miller, 92, of Lititz, Pennsylvania, died Jan. 1, 2020, at UPMC Hospital in Lititz.
He was born in Lititz, the son of the late Harvey and Emma Buckwalter Miller. He was the husband of the late Reba Longenecker Miller, and they celebrated 67 years of marriage prior to her death in February 2019.
Miller was raised on his family’s farm and graduated from Manheim Township High School in 1945. He worked at Holsum Bakery for 26 years as a route salesman and sales manager, and then 20 years as the advertising manager for Lancaster Farming.
After retiring from the newspaper in 1993, he worked for Fulton Bank until 2008.
He was a Little League baseball coach for many years and was passionate about collecting baseball cards and watching the Philadelphia Phillies and Eagles.
He was an active member of Calvary Church, serving as an usher for over 50 years.
And he loved spending time with family, friends, grandchildren and his great-grandchildren. He is survived by his daughter, Carol Kuehner, wife of Rick Kuehner, Lititz; and his two sons, James Miller, husband of Elizabeth Miller, California; and Steve Miller, husband of Karen Miller, Lititz.
He is also survived by seven grandchildren: Adam, and Ryan Kuehner, Chris Miller, Libby Foreman, Amie Brown, Danielle Miller-Bumol, and Cole Miller; and 15 great-grandchildren: Cohen, Jocelyn, Levi, Jude, Micaiah, Frederick, Duncan, Beatrice, Myles, Jackson, Madeline, Shade, India, Delilah and David.
He was preceded in death by his nine siblings: Edgar, Ethel Bushong, Wilber, Richard, Harvey, Warren, David, Carl, and Ray Miller.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend a celebration of life service in the chapel at Calvary Church, 1051 Landis Valley Road, Lancaster, on Monday, Jan. 13, at 11 a.m. Friends may visit with the family from 10 a.m. until the time of the service. A luncheon will be provided afterwards. Interment in Salem Heller’s cemetery will be private.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to the Global Missions Fund at Calvary Church, 1051 Landis Valley Road, Lancaster, PA 17601.
To place a condolence online, visit BuchFuneral.com.