Nunc Dimittis

February 20, 2013

William C. Hain, 89 years old, died on December 29, 2012 in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania. Born January 13, 1923 in Pittsburgh, he worked for the Samuel Bowman Organ Company before serving in the Army during World War II. He returned in 1944, and continued his work with the Bowman Company. In 1950, he and Joseph Kibler started Organcraft, which they continued together until Kibler’s retirement in 1977. They both served as sales and service representatives for Casavant Organs during the 1950s and ’60s. Hain’s son William joined Organcraft in 1977, at which time both were appointed as service representatives for the Austin Organ Company. 

Hain continued working with his son until age 85; he had worked on most of the organs in the Pittsburgh area. Known for his expertise as well as his kind and gentle nature, William Hain dedicated his life to the pipe organ profession, even playing the organ for residents at his retirement home. Predeceased in 2012 by his wife, Anna Marie, William C. Hain is survived by his son, William C. Hain II, his daughter, Patricia Ann Witt, six grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.

—Edgar Highberger

Max Burdorf Miller, age 85, died January 5 in Marlborough, Massachusetts. Born in 1927, Miller began his study of the organ in his native California; while studying Arnold Schoenberg’s Variations on a Recitative, he received coaching from the composer. He and his wife Betty lived in Vienna for several years in the 1950s, while Max studied with Anton Heiller. Miller received his Ph.D. from Boston University, and was a Fellow of the American Guild of Organists; for many years he wrote the “Ask Uncle Max” column for The American Organist

Miller served on the faculties of the School of Music and the School of Theology at Boston University for 42 years until his retirement in 1991. He was simultaneously university organist, director of music at Marsh Chapel, director of the Master of Sacred Music program, conductor of the Seminary Singers (which he took on tour every year), and professor of organ in the School of Music. In 1983 he composed the tune Marsh Chapel for use with the text “Awake, O sleeper, rise from death.” 

Miller was the guiding spirit in the founding of The Organ Library, located in the Boston University School of Theology; it has grown to be one of the largest collections of organ music in the world, accessible though a searchable database. The Organ Library awards the biennial Max B. Miller prize to outstanding books devoted to organ literature and performance. Max Burdorf Miller is survived by his wife of 52 years, Elizabeth (Hyde) Miller, three sons, and five grandchildren. Contributions in memory of Dr. Max B. Miller may be made to the Organ Library in the School of Theology at Boston University, 745 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02215.


William “Bill” Brant Mills, 68, died February 18, 2012, in Florence, South Carolina. He earned a BMus degree in organ from Florida State University, and MMus in organ from the University of South Carolina, and did postgraduate work at Indiana, Southern Methodist, and Stanford universities, and Columbia College. Mills was a diaconal minister in the United Methodist church and director of music-organist at Central United Methodist Church in Florence, South Carolina for more than 42 years. A well-known pianist and accompanist, he was founder and director of the Masterworks Choir in Florence in 1979; in 1995, the choir, along with the Central United Methodist Church Choir, toured Austria and Germany; they also participated in the Festival of Churches programs as part of the Piccolo Spoleto festival. The Masterworks Choir was selected to sing choral works of Robert Powell upon Powell’s retirement. William “Bill” Brant Mills is survived by a son, a daughter, and four grandchildren.


David D. Sly died October 20, 2012. He was 64 years old. Born in Saginaw, Michigan, he earned his BMusEd degree from Olivet College, and a master’s and doctorate in counseling from Michigan State University. Sly was organist and directed the chancel choir at Marshall United Methodist Church for more than 35 years, and directed many high school and community theater musicals. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Marshall Civic Theatre and an Outstanding Alumnus Award from Olivet College; he served twice as dean of the Southwest Michigan AGO chapter. David D. Sly is survived by his sisters, five nephews, and eight grand nieces and nephews.