April 13, 2017
The Badminton Ontario community is saddened to hear of the passing, this week, of Keith Miller at the age of 78 years. Keith spent over four decades serving the sport of Badminton locally, provincially, nationally and internationally – his dedication and professionalism enabled him to become one of the leading IBF (now BWF) international Officials in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, officiating at such prestigious competitions as the Sudirman Cup and serving as the Head Referee for many years at the US Open and Canadian Open.
Even when he was “in demand” at the international level, Keith never forgot his roots in Ontario – he always made himself available for Badminton Ontario and Badminton Canada competitions. “One of the major reasons that Ontario has such a high level of officiating in our sport is through Keith’s commitment to training the next generation of officials – he was a student of the game and had a special way of teaching and transferring his significant knowledge to others” said Dave Kumar, Badminton Ontario’s Vice President. Ian Lagden, retired BWF Referee and a member of Badminton Ontario’s Officials Committee noted; “In all my years working with Keith, I don’t recall ever seeing him refer to a rule book on court – he had all the rules committed to memory – he was encyclopedic in his knowledge”.
Keith also served as Badminton Canada’s Competitions Director from 1998 until 2005 – he was the “go to” person for all the Elite Series and National Championship competitions in Canada. “One of Keith’s great assets was his ability to connect with the athletes – to be tough but fair in how he enforced the rules of the game but to be able to explain his decisions to the athletes in a manner that garnered him great respect and admiration” said Martha Deacon, Canada’s Olympic and Commonwealth Badminton Team Manager during Keith’s time with Badminton Canada. Susan Mussakowski, a long serving Badminton Ontario Official adds: “Over the years’ Keith always loved working at the junior championships and it was evident that the juniors were thrilled with him as well, especially the U12’s and U14’s who would hang out around the draw desk asking him questions and being charmed with his wit and humour. If we were to look back at pictures of the medal presentations from the juniors we would see their smiling faces along with Keith, because they all wanted their picture with him”.
A good athlete himself in his heyday, Keith took to the game of golf in his later years with the same drive and fervor that he exhibited in Badminton – he played a good level but you could be sure that he knew the rule book inside out when you played with him! In his last years, Keith was struck with Parkinson’s Disease – he battled valiantly as we all know he would – but he made every effort to come to the Toronto Open every year to connect with “his sport” and with his Badminton friends. We were fortunate to have Keith’s company at the 2016 Toronto Open, sadly the last badminton competition in Ontario that he was well enough to attend.
Our thoughts go out to Keith’s wife Joyce, his son and daughter (Sean, Kristin) and his grandson (Curtis). Keith has had a massive impact in Badminton in Ontario – he will be missed but certainly not forgotten as his legacy lives on court through the numerous officials, coaches and athletes that have had the pleasure of his company and his tutelage.
Keith Miller (right) at the 2016 Toronto Open