Joseph Miller, Sr.

One of our Greatest Businessmen

Joseph Miller, Sr. established Reliable Life Insurance Company and Miller Funeral Home with his wife, Alice Mae in the 1930’s.
He was the youngest of ten children, was born on Tates Plantation, fifteen miles south of Natchez, Mississippi on March 13,1905, to Rev. Tom Miller and Kayra Anderson Miller. He succumbed Tuesday, June 10, 1980, at St. Francis Hospital.

His early education was acquired in a one room church school on the plantation where he lived. He completed his high school training at Natchez college, Natchez Mississippi. He graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Chicago, Illinois, in 1928. On April 26, 1928 he was united in holy wedlock to Miss Alice Mae Maddox, who preceded him in death April 18,1978.

To this union one son was born, Joseph H. Miller, Jr.

In 1929 he founded Concordia Funeral Home in Ferriday, Louisiana. Later he moved to Monroe where he was employed by Lamothe Funeral Home, earning twelve dollars a week. He confessed Christ at the First Baptist Church in 1936 under the pastorate of Rev. P. C. Keal.

In 1935 he opened Miller Funeral Home at 1006 Washington Street with a total capital of $20.00 and one employee. Due to the growth of his business, the home was completely rebuilt in 1958 at the same location. In 1975, having outgrown the Washington Street facilities he built a new funeral home on Renwick Street. Through hard work, sheer initiative and dedication, he was able to build a multimillion dollar business enterprise.

Reliable Insurance company which he founded with his wife in 1945 is the third largest Black owned insurance company in Louisiana and is listed number 27 in the nation. His company has been listed among the Black enterprise top 100 Insurance Companies in America with over $25 million of insurance in force. Miller was known for his jovial personality and friendly nature. Despite the fact that he was a millionaire he was lauded by many Blacks for always living and working close to the Black community.

His philanthropy helped underwrite many community civic endeavors and his business example was an inspiration for many. In 1996 his company is still family operated in his tradition, by his son Joseph, Jr.. Miller Reliable is the largest Black Business in Monroe in 1996 with over 150 employees.