Miller Harris was born June 19, 1974 with a sweet disposition that was evident from the beginning. At age three he was diagnosed with asthma, and after enduring a regimen of allergy tests to pinpoint his specific triggers, he began his lifelong ordeal with the ultimately fatal condition. Miller was undaunted by the effects of the disease, and his lust for life endeared him to all who knew him.
After graduating from high school 1992, Miller continued his education first at Ole Miss, then transferring his sophomore year to Middle Tennessee State University to study in the Recording Industry Management program. After graduating from MTSU in 1996, Miller joined his mom, Judy Harris, in the music publishing business. They signed Earl Thomas Conley, who Miller regarded as the “real deal”. Songwriters and artists who came in to the office were always drawn in by Miller’s enthusiasm. He was always happy for other’s success, and he made every day an adventure and truly ‘lived’ each day.
Miller was also very concerned about the poor state of Music Row, and by the time he graduated from MTSU, it was in severe decline. In response, he and other young music industry professionals began what would eventually become the Society of Leaders in Development (SOLID). SOLlD grew to be a formidable organization dedicated to supporting up-and-coming music industry professionals and the music industry as a whole.
Regretfully, Miller’s infectious good-natured spirit passed into the hands of Jesus on September 11, 1999, after a fatal asthma attack; Miller was just 25 years old. Miller was a member of St. Paul Southern Methodist Church and participated in Bible Study Fellowship. Those who knew Miller regarded him as an angel, a saint, a goof, a friend, a kind spirit and a loving soul, and he especially endeared himself to Nashville’s singer-songwriters.
Miller held God, family and friends above all else, and if there is a common thread among those who speak of him still, it is that “he could make you laugh.” No doubt he could make you cry too, but his was a selfless and genuinely good heart, and he is sorely missed by all.
The Miller Harris Foundation is a public non-profit 501(c)(3) organization established in 2002 by family and friends of Miller Harris. The Foundation was set up to endow a scholarship at MTSU in the Recording Industry Management program, promote asthma awareness and support other organizations in Miller’s name. The Foundation’s focus ensures that memories of Miller are alive, and collective efforts will continue in his honor. Proceeds from the Annual Miller Harris Memorial Golf Tournament support our charitable endeavors.
Asthma is a lung disease that makes breathing difficult for nearly eight million children. Among children ages 5-17, asthma is the leading cause of school absenteeism from a chronic illness. It accounts for an annual loss of more than 14 million school days per year (averaging eight days per student with asthma). The Miller Harris Foundation strives to educate and help children learn to adapt and live with asthma. To that end, in 2006, the Foundation partnered with Monroe C. Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and the Joe C. Davis YMCA Outdoor Center to establish the Miller Harris Asthma Camp for Kids, a unique summer camp experience for children ages 6-13 with asthma whose health has made it difficult for them to attend a regular summer camp. Doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists from Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital volunteer their time to monitor the children, teach them to optimize their abilities, have fun, and learn how to manage their asthma. The Vanderbilt professionals are onsite the entire time children are at camp. Children with moderate to severe asthma attend the Miller Harris Asthma Camp at no charge to their families.
Miller graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in 1996 with a major in Mass Communications/Recording Industry Management. The Foundation established an endowed scholarship in the Recording Industry Management program in Miller’s memory.