Longest-serving aide to longest-serving lawmaker is dead

The Brooklyn Paper
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Celestine Miller, The longest-serving staff member of the longest-serving Brooklyn legislator in Albany died on July 23 after a long illness. She was 89.

Miller, a Fort Greene community liaison for Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D–Greenpoint) for 27 years, was a health care advocate who maintained close relationships with Community Board 2, the 88th Precinct, and both Cumberland Medical Center and Brooklyn Hospital Center, where she served on the board of directors.

She helped many Fort Greene residents with immigration problems and affordable health care and pushed city officials to address nagging quality of life issues in the neighborhood regarding pests and traffic — the kinds of advocacy work that made Fort Greene and Clinton Hill increasingly attractive neighborhoods in which to live.

One of Miller’s longtime goals was to improve access to fresh produce in impoverished neighborhoods. As if on cue, a new community-run farm stand opened this month on Myrtle Avenue in front of the Ingersoll Houses.

“The city has lost a crusading and passionate community organizer,” Lentol said, adding that he had lost “a great friend and a valued aide.”

“Celestine took very seriously her work for my office, and was in daily contact to report on local issues and work that she believed was necessary in the community,” said Lentol. “I will remember the way her smile warmed a room, and her good work resulted in improvements to our way of life.”

Born in 1921 in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, Miller came to Brooklyn at a young age, where she was educated in local schools. In 1946, she married Lloyd Miller.

She is survived by her son, Lloyd Stanley, Jr. A daughter, Pearl Marvella, died earlier.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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