Van Miller, the former ‘Voice of the Buffalo Bills’ and sportscaster, has died at the age of 87.
Miller died Friday night. Pete Weber, play-by-play for the Nashville Predators. is also a former Bills Color Commentator who worked directly with Miller in the broadcast booth. Weber tells WBFO Mews he learned Miller suffered a stroke.
"Well I had been told, actually about ten days ago, that Van had suffered a stroke and was in Hospice care, and that obviously is disturbing news. The last few years I know have not been comfortable for him," said Weber.
Weber also noted that Miller had some neck fusion for his vertebrae which preventing Miller from playing tennis.
Miller retired at the end of the Buffalo Bills Season in 2004 after 37-years with the team. His familiar voice was part of Western New York Bills culture as the radio play-by-play man. But Miller continued to attend Bills home games.
"He was at every home game," stated Weber.
Weber would always send Miller a new sports book. Miller would immediately call him when it would arrive to discuss the book and chat about Miller's love for Norte Dame football. "We were together on the phone very frequently," said Weber. "Mostly he wanted to talk about the old times."
Miller started calling the games in 1960. He conducted the play-by-play until 1971, left and then returned as the Voice of the Bills from 1977 until his retirement in 2004.
Miller witnessed all the ups and downs of the franchise, from the 2-14 seasons of the mid-1980’s to broadcast of the games when the team went to four straight Super Bowls in the early 1990’s.
It was the famous remarks such as ‘Fandemonium’ and ‘Do you believe it’, that endeared himself to so many fans and Western New Yorkers. In October of 2104 the Buffalo Bills honored Miller as the longtime radio play-by-play announcer by adding his name to the Wall of Fame at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Miller was also inducted in the Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
Miller was a Dunkirk native, born in 1927. Miller had a 55-year broadcast career in both radio and television. He started his career as a sports announcer in Dunkirk on WFCB. Later he was sports director for WBEN-TV, then WIVB-Television. He also hosted the local t.v. program it’s Academic and the bowling show, Beat the Camp.
Report say Miller died late Friday night. He was living in Tonawanda and is survived by his wife of 62-years, Gloria, his daughter Cathy, a son Van, and three grandchildren.
The Buffalo Bills released the following statement:
On behalf of Terry and Kim Pegula and everyone at One Bills Drive, we are all deeply saddened with the news of the passing of Van Miller. As the ‘Voice of the Bills,’ Van's historic radio calls of Bills games over the years will forever resonate with our fans. His Hall of Fame and Wall of Fame talent was overshadowed only by his engaging personality, his witty sense of humor and his love for the Bills. We will all dearly miss ‘Uncle Van,’ but his legacy will remain deeply embedded in our franchise's history and in the hearts of his countless fans in Western New York and throughout the NFL community. Our deepest sympathies, along with our thoughts and prayers, go out to his wife Gloria and all of Van's family during this difficult time."
NOTE: A private service for the family is being planned at the current time.
VAN MILLER BIOGRAPHY
Van Miller passed away on Friday, July 17, 2015 at the age of 87.
Miller was born on November 22, 1927 in Dunkirk, NY. He began his broadcasting career in 1955 as a summer replacement on WBEN radio and television network calling high school sports. He became the Voice of the Bills during the team’s inaugural season in 1960. He served in that role from 1960-70 and 1978-2003.
Miller called some of the most memorable moments in Bills history including both AFL Championship victories, the Comeback Game and all four AFC Championship seasons. In total Miller called 605 Buffalo Bills games in his broadcasting career.
Throughout his career, Miller was recognized for his excellence in the broadcasting field. He was inducted into the Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1998, the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame in 2002. He was presented with the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award by the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004. In 2014, he was named to the Buffalo Bills Wall of Fame.
In addition to broadcasting Bills games, he called games for the NBA’s Buffalo Braves from 1971 to 1977. He also served as the sports director for WIVB-TV and was a weather reporter and a game show host.
He is survived by his by his wife of 62-years, Gloria, his daughter Cathy, a son Van, and three grandchildren.
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