Harry Miles Dies

Industry legend Harry Miles collapsed and died Friday, June 17 in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., while attending a convention for the Imagination Library.

He was 76 and had served as a consultant to the industry after retiring from AFG Industries Inc. in 1989 after 35 years with the company.

Born in San Diego, Russell Harrison (Harry) Miles Jr. was the son of the late Russell H. and Mary Polk Miles.

His father's job kept the family on the move until Miles enrolled in college. In 1946, he chose to attend the University of Illinois. "It was one of the few good engineering schools still accepting students from out of state," he told USGlass when he was inducted into the Glass Hall of Fame in 1999. Miles met his wife Jan there while working on the school newspaper.

He graduated with a major in general engineering and entered the Navy where he served at a variety of places during the next three years.

When he got out of the Navy in 1954, he went looking for a job and found one at what was then the Blue Ridge Glass Corporation (BRGC). BRGC was a small company jointly owned by San Gobain and Corning, which eventually evolved into AFG Industries.

Miles started as an engineering foreman and worked in a variety of jobs. "The company kept giving me areas to fix or the problems to solve, so I did," he said, "and I have the scars to prove it!" Eventually he settled in the technical services area, where he worked for 15 years until his retirement.

But Miles is perhaps best known for the work he did as a consultant for the Glass Tempering Association and then the Glass Association of North America following his retirement.

During those years, he was in the middle of some of the biggest-and most challenging-discussions in the industry. He was known as an expert technician with knowledge beyond reproach and a skilled negotiator able to forge compromise when others thought it was not possible.

A GANA newsletter at the time said, "It's hard to imagine the glass industry without Harry Miles to advise, cajole, admonish and encourage all those involved in day-to-day technical trench work … His experience and technical expertise have permitted him to serve variously as the industry's conscience on some issues, its voice of reason on others.

"It is difficult, if not impossible, to calculate the influence any one individual has had on an association or industry, but most GANA members agree that his fine hand is evident in much of our technical information and will serve as an enduring reminder of his commitment ..."

The GANA Harry Miles Award of Excellence was created in his honor as a result of his work in the industry.

He was preceded in death by his sister, Sally Miles Burdine; and his brother, Wesley G. Miles.

Surviving, in addition to his wife, Janet, are one daughter, Barbara Ann Miles of Harrisburg, Pa.; three sons and daughters-in-law, Russell W. Miles and Susie Miles of St. Petersburg, Fla., Robert K Miles and Jane Miles of Sanford, N.C., Richard A Miles and Lynn Miles of Guntersville, Ala.; four grandchildren, Sandi, Keith, Robin, and Traci Miles; and numerous special nieces and nephews.

A memorial service is being held this evening (Monday, June 20) at 7 p.m. at Hamlett-Dobson Funeral Home in Kingsport.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to these charities: Friends of Ft. Patrick Henry Lake, Gunther Doerfert, Treasurer, 3613 Lake Shore Drive, Kingsport, N 37663 or Sullivan County Imagination Library/Kingsport Chamber Foundation, P.O. Box 1403, Kingsport, TN 37662.

Read Wild About Harry - USGlass November 1999

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