As a young U.S. Navy sailor during World War Two, Lee Miller of Halifax was upbeat and positive by nature.
But that optimism was put to the test on Oct 24, 1944, when his ship, USS Princeton, was hit by an enemy bomber.
“We got the order ‘All air personnel abandon ship,’ ” Miller recalled, as if it happened yesterday.
Within minutes, the then 22-year-old airplane mechanic found himself floating in shark-infested waters, with a shipmate clinging to his back.
“The fellow that was hanging on to me agreed,” said Miller. “We gotta do a lot of praying. And we got through it.”
After six years’ service in the U.S. Navy, Miller teamed with the famed Blue Angels aerial team as a mechanic for a year before returning to Dauphin County and a 42-year career with the Pennsylvania Railroad and Conrail.
Throughout his life, Miller’s personal priority centered on good health, for body and soul. His wife Evelyn shares that attitude. Together they begin each day with devotions.
“She reads the Bible aloud and I listen to her,” Miller said. “And then we have our prayers.”
After devotions, it’s exercise time for the nearly 92-year-old fitness enthusiast
“Right after breakfast, I walk for a half hour in the apartment,” he said. “But not very fast.” The key, he says, is to rest between exercises.
“In the afternoon, I’ll rest a while after lunch,” said Miller. “Then I’ll do upper body exercises.”
While pedaling his stationary bike, Miller added: “Our health is more important than all the money in the world.”
All toll, his workouts include two hours of various exercise routines. Along with the workouts, there are plenty of vitamins and a healthy dose of family love.
Pointing to shelves full of family pictures, Miller makes it clear that he considers himself blessed with a loving family.
“We really enjoy each other,” he said. “I love them all.”
“These grandchildren, great grandchildren, they’re wonderful. I enjoy all of them.”
For anyone else seeking a long and happy life, Miller had this simple advice: “Take it a day at a time. It comes fine.”