February 15, 2020
It's hard finding a picture of Thomas Miller smiling.
That's an odd contrast to the person known and loved by countless friends and colleagues who basked in his endless supply of warmth and care. He never explained why he posed so stoically, but away from a camera, he was always smiling, and laughing.
Thomas was an accomplished project manager in the fashion industry. He worked exclusively for iconic American designer Anna Sui since her brand launched more than three decades ago in New York City.
He preferred helping behind the scenes, but along the way, he befriended and encouraged scores of fellow employees, runway models, and even interns, to name a few.
Thomas shared with all of them an extraordinary zeal to seek beauty each day — be it in art, nature, fashion, food, ballet, travel, poetry, music, and people of all kinds.
This wondrous journey sadly came to an end Saturday, Feb. 15, when Thomas passed away after a brief illness.
He was 61.
Thomas was born March 8, 1958, in Menomonee, Wisconsin. He moved with his parents and three brothers to Southern California in the early 1970s. Later he graduated from UCLA, where he studied design and textiles.
By the early 1980s, he was in New York City, aiming to be a designer, but finding his niche at Anna Sui. In a recent Women's Wear Daily article, she called Thomas her "right-hand man," and added, "He was with me every step of the way in building this business."
Thomas befriended anyone, the bold and the timid, and these friends became family. He helped others see the good and often the best in themselves.
His only agenda was to love and enjoy all he could in this world and share it.
Thomas had enormous empathy for the struggles of others and selflessly blessed them with support and encouragement. He named his spare bedroom the "Heartbreak Hotel," which became a landing pad for friends recovering from breakups.
To soften their sorrow, Thomas drew them into his orbit as he explored how to get the most out of the City while paying the least.
Friends recalled how he'd research the best days to see museum exhibits, ballet performances, or classic films, all with an eye to cheaper tickets or even free admission. Sometimes he'd outpace everyone and attend the events on his own.
But he took special joy in bringing others along for the ride, even if it meant rising before dawn to get in line for tickets to Shakespeare in the Park. The payoff wasn't just the performance, but also a sumptuous picnic planned by Thomas, with gorgeous china and blankets.
Family also said he was a "solid citizen" who faithfully voted. His father, a veteran, proudly noted that Thomas, at age 18, unhesitatingly registered for the draft.
Thomas didn't like conflict, but his advice to everyone became a motto: "Moving forward in love."
On Feb. 3, Thomas collapsed at work during the home stretch leading to Fashion Week. Doctors said a brain aneurysm that he likely had since birth finally ruptured. He was taken by ambulance, with Anna Sui at his side, to Mount Sinai Hospital.
Family and friends praised the excellent care Thomas received at the Intensive Care Unit.
But after a series of strokes and pneumonia he passed away, surrounded by family and friends.
Marc Feil, Thomas' longtime partner, survives him, along with Thomas' dad, Robert Miller, and brothers Bob, Joel, and Bill. His mother, Dolores Miller, died in 2008.
A viewing will be 3-6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, at Greenwich Village Funeral Home, 199 Bleecker Street, New York, NY, 10012.
Instead of flowers, a gift can be made to the School of American Ballet
in honor of Thomas Miller by visiting this link:
Or to make a gift by check:
Attn Membership — In Memory of Thomas Miller
70 Lincoln Center Plaza New York, NY 10023
February 22, 2020
3:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Greenwich Village Funeral Home
199 Bleecker Street
New York, NY 10012Get Directions
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