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King University Honors the Life of Dr. Miller Liston ’63

January 3, 2023

King is saddened to share news of the death of distinguished alumnus, trustee, and beloved University community member Dr. Miller Liston ’63. Miller died Dec. 28, 2022 at the age of 86 in Laurinburg, North Carolina.

Miller first came to King in 1943 when his father, R.T.L. Liston, was named King’s 12th president. Throughout much of his childhood he lived on campus in the Tadlock-Wallace House, and following high school, he began preparing for a career in medicine by enrolling at King and majoring in biology and chemistry. He left Bristol for a time to join the U.S. Navy, earning his wings in the Aviation Cadet Program in 1959 and completing active-duty service in 1961 before enlisting in the U.S. Navy Reserve and returning to King to complete his bachelor’s degree in science.

Although he long dreamed of becoming a doctor and had enrolled at the University of Tennessee’s Medical School in Memphis, Miller felt called to the ministry. He entered Columbia Theological Seminary and became a Presbyterian minister, leading churches throughout the southeast. Following his retirement, he continued to serve as an interim pastor for Presbyterian churches throughout Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

He also served his country as a pilot in the Navy Reserve for 12 years and as a chaplain for 27 years, retiring with the rank of Captain in 1996.

Miller found many ways to give back to King – often with his wife, Anne, by his side. Anne graduated from King in 1957 and frequently joined Miller in distributing exam care packages to students, serving refreshments at campus receptions, and assisting with administrative tasks. Their consistent generosity earned them recognition as Volunteers of the Year in 2010.

Miller also invested in the lives of students through scholarship programs. The Anne Liston Foundation Scholarship honors the memory of his wife by providing tuition assistance to the children of Presbyterian ministers, missionaries and staff members. The Liston Family Scholars Program, King’s most prestigious academic award, provides full tuition for students who demonstrate academic scholarship, Christian fellowship, community and civic service, and peer engagement.

For his exemplary service and generosity, King presented Miller with an honorary doctorate in 1987, recognizing him as an “effective church developer, seasoned veteran of the armed forces, patriot, enthusiastic promoter of small church ministries, loyal alumnus, and dedicated servant of our Lord Jesus Christ.” He was also named a Distinguished Alumnus in 2019.

Miller and Anne have two daughters, Maria Anne ‘82, professor of Anthropology at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, and Margaret (Mrs. David Reid) who lives in Fayetteville, North Carolina and is the mother of two grandchildren, Maria and Ripley.

A graveside service with military honors will be held at 9 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 6 at Glenwood/Shelby Hill Cemetery, 839 Bluff City Highway in Bristol, Tennessee, with a memorial service to follow at 11 a.m. in King’s Memorial Chapel on campus. A reception will be held afterward in the E.W. King Library. Members of the University community are invited to attend.

For those wishing to honor Miller’s life, the family has requested that donations be made to King University, Old Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church, Scotia Village Retirement Community, or a charity of choice. The family also notes that others can honor his memory by helping to save turtles, moving them out of the road in the direction they were traveling.