Former Corbin Mayor Amos Miller was laid to rest Monday afternoon following his funeral at Immanuel Baptist Church.
Miller died Thursday in Lexington at age 78.
“Amos is happy today,” said Rev. Allen Bonnell, pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church where Miller was a member.
Bonnell said if you had to choose four words to describe Miller, those words would be: faithful, wisdom, humor and influence.
“He was faithful to the Lord, the church and his family,” Bonnell said of Miller noting he was very involved in the church, teaching Sunday School up until about one year ago.
“He explained it so we could understand it,” Bonnell said of Miller, noting while he spoke of his faith with great conviction, he was very compassionate when speaking to those who had yet to come to know the Lord.
“Some tell it like it is and leave carnage. His heart was so compassionate, you knew that he was for you,” Bonnell said.
Bonnell added that Miller took that same path with everyone, including him.
“He told me more than once, ‘If you stay close to God, you get God’s vision for the church We will follow you,’” Bonnell said. “It scared me! I think Amos knew that it scared me.”
Bonnell recalled the recent episode when church officials requested the building and property on Ky. 2989 be annexed into the Corbin city limits.
At the Corbin City Commission meeting, Bonnell said he faced a room full of adjacent property owners opposing the annexation.
There were two people from the church, Amos and Joe Peyton. Bonnell recalled noting that Miller sat right behind him during the meeting. “Amos was there to protect me. Joe was there to watch the fireworks.”
As a Sunday school teacher, Bonnell said Miller frequently quoted from the “Book of Amos.”
“He did not mean the book from the Bible. It was his own book,” Bonnell explained.
Bonnell said Miller affected the lives of numerous people throughout Corbin, Knox County, and even the region whether it was in church, on the football field or baseball field, in school or numerous other places.
“Amos led many through some dark days. Through dry periods and deserts in our lives,” Bonnell said.
Bonnell said Miller was a leader, noting if he had to pick someone from “The Bible” to compare Miller to, that person would be Moses.
“Great leaders invest in others who are going to follow them. They raise other leaders up who carry on,” Bonnell said. Amos was such a leader. He planted so much seed and it is still sprouting.”
Miller literally worked his way to the top of city government, beginning as a public works employee.
When the city’s recreation department was created in 1970, Miller was selected to run it doing so until 1996.
After two years away from the city, Miller was elected to serve on the Corbin City Commission in 1998.
In October 2004, he was appointed to fill out the remainder of Mayor Scott Williamson’s term after Williamson resigned.
Williamson said previously that he knew Miller long before their days together on the city commission, going back to when Williamson played for Central Elementary’s football team and Miller coached East Ward’s team.
“Amos was a very unique individual,” Williamson said.
“He was sort of a kid at heart.”
While serving as mayor of Corbin on the commission with Miller, Williamson said the two did not always agree on specifics, but they did always agree on one thing.
“We both tried to make decisions that were best for the future of Corbin,” Williamson said.
Williamson said Miller was instrumental in bringing together the park project that would become known as Miller Park off of Barton Mill Road.
“He worked very hard on that,” Williamson said of Miller.
Terry Joe Martin said Miller was a lifelong friend dating back to Miller’s days as a Little League baseball coach.
“We just had a natural attachment,” Martin said of his friendship with Miller.
The friendship continued beyond Martin’s days on the ballfield.
“He was a very caring, very giving person,” Martin said of Miller.
Martin said whether it was working for the city, or for Knox County as a truancy officer, Miller’s focus was on helping children.
“He really had the best interest of kids, particularly the kids of Corbin at heart,” Martin said of Miller.
While Miller’s time at mayor was limited, he was instrumental in several items that have helped the city grow.
In 2006, the city commission implemented the occupational tax. An agreement was reached with the Whitley County Fiscal Court to split the occupational tax revenue in order to avoid stacking the city and county taxes.
In addition, Miller was instrumental in getting Corbin reclassified as a fourth-class city in order to permit it to institute the restaurant tax.