Miller, a Democrat, was the longest serving active county judge in Kentucky, taking office in 1974. He was elected in November to an 11th term as judge-executive for the Western Kentucky county.
Miller died at Marshall County Hospital due to respiratory failure.
In a statement, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said:
“Judge Mike Miller’s passing is a terrible loss not only for his family and friends, but also for Marshall County. I can’t think of anyone more devoted to his work and to the improvement of his community than Mike. Very few public officials can say they served in the same position for decades, but Mike easily earned the trust and respect of his peers, who returned him to office again and again. Jane and I are saddened by his death, and we are keeping his wife, Chyrill, sons John Keith and Shawn, and grandchildren in our thoughts and prayers.”
Calloway County Judge-Executive Larry Elkins served with Miller on the boards of the Purchase Area Development District and West Kentucky Allied Services.
“Those of us in neighboring counties depended on him at times to give us counsel on issues that we may not have experienced before,” Elkins said. “He was always very generous with his time and had a way about him of breaking tension if you were in a tense situation.
“He was full of funny stories and jokes and experiences. He was just very entertaining and a person that people enjoyed being around.”
Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican, released a statement expressing his sadness at Miller’s passing, saying the two had worked together despite their political differences.
“Mike was a dedicated public servant who spent 40 years of his life serving the community he loved as county judge-executive,” Paul said.
Kentucky Treasurer Todd Hollenbach said Miller was mentored by his father—also a county judge—and in turn helped Hollenbach when he entered public service.
“Judge Miller was a model of public service, witnessed by the decades of work for and dediction to the people of Marshall County,” Hollenbach said in a statement. “But his influence was felt far beyond the lake region of western Kentucky and we will all miss his wit, wisdom and friendship.”