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Robert Lang Miller Sr., 90, investment firm president and civic leader

July 11, 1927 – April 15, 2018

Robert Lang Miller Sr. was his father’s choice to carry on the family’s financial interests.

Mr. Miller, like his father, had become an executive with Liberty National Bank.

In 1969, he and Paul Gesko, who came from M&T Bank, took over the office in the Liberty Building that his father had opened to manage the family’s business affairs. When Liberty National Bank became a subsidiary of a new bank holding company in January 1972, he resigned from the bank to devote full time to what became Miller, Gesko and Co.

The firm now manages investments and financial matters for dozens of families across the nation. Mr. Miller served as chairman until five years ago.

“He would still call us up and tell us what we should be doing,” said his son, Robert L. Jr., a partner in the firm. “He would always come up with something that the rest of us would miss.”

He died April 15 at home in Canterbury Woods, Amherst, after a short illness. He was 90.

Born in Buffalo, the fourth of six children, he was a descendant of Gerhard Lang, owner of the city’s largest brewery before Prohibition, and Edwin G. S. Miller, president of the bank which became Liberty Bank. His maternal grandfather, Daniel Mahony, was captain of Buffalo’s fireboat, the William S. Grattan, now called the Edward M. Cotter.

He attended Nichols School, enlisted in the Navy at the close of World War II, serving stateside, then earned a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College.

Mr. Miller began his career at Liberty Bank in 1950, the same year that he and Evelyn R. Gurney, the sister of playwright A.R. Gurney, were married.

At the bank, he went on to become a vice president, senior lending officer and head of the National Division.

He also served as an officer or director for numerous civic, charitable, educational and cultural organizations.

“He was very active,” his son said, “He felt it was important to be a good citizen.”

He helped lead the Buffalo and Erie County Planning Association, the Greater Buffalo Development Foundation, the Niagara Frontier Vocational Rehabilitation Center, Buffalo General Hospital and the Buffalo General Foundation. He also was active with the National Council for Community and Justice, the International Institute, the Canisius College Board of Regents, Daemen College, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the Burchfield Penney Art Center.

He twice was chairman of the Erie County Department of Mental Health and was a leader in the Community Divisions of the United Jewish Appeal and the United Negro College Fund. He also was vice president of the Buffalo Chapter of the New York State Society of Security Analysts.

He was a former dean of the Saturn Club and former president of the Mid-Day Club, the Pack Club and the Buffalo Tennis and Squash Club. He also was a member of the Buffalo Canoe Club, the Buffalo Yacht Club and the Thursday Club.

An avid skier, sailor and tennis player, he sailed his 35-foot sloop Algarve on Lakes Erie and Ontario. He also enjoyed traveling and classical music.

In addition to his wife and son, survivors include two daughters, Marion M. Matson and Elizabeth M. McClellan; a sister, Claire M. McGowan; six grandchildren and a great-grandson.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 5, in St. Joseph University Catholic Church, 3269 Main St.

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