Friday night, at its annual banquet, the Alabama Golf Association will recognize Jean Miller with the Joe H. King Award.
King, who died in 2008, was a key person within the USGA, Southern Golf Association and AGA. In 1993, the AGA created an award in King’s name to be given periodically to amateur golfers in Alabama for their contributions to golf.
To date, there have been 14 recipients: King, Ann Upchurch, Elbert Jemison, Charley Boswell, Buddy Walker, Sam Farlow, Frank Campbell, Bob Lowry, Jackie Cummings, Art Gleason, Fred Stephens, Bee McWane Reid, Sadie Roberts, and Buford McCarty.
Here’s a look at the latest recipient:
Jean H. Miller
Jean was born in Birmingham, Alabama, moved to Selma at age four and on to Petersburg, Virginia at age six. She attended Converse College where she earned a Master’s Degree in Art and then came full circle back to Birmingham in 1949 where she met and later married the love of her life, Jess Edward Miller on July 30, 1950. Jean and Jess had three children, Leslie, Mark and Jay. Today there are 12 grandchildren and three great grandchildren, all of whom are her greatest pride and joy.
Jean was first introduced to the game of golf by her roommate while attending Converse College but did not become a serious golfer until after her three children were born. She became active in the Birmingham Golf Association and began volunteering as Chairman for the LPGA Championship at Green Valley Country Club in the 1950s.
Jean won the Country Club of Birmingham Ladies Golf Championship nine times and was crowned the Ladies Club Champion at Mountain Brook Country Club five times. She served as the Ladies Golf Chairman twice at Country Club of Birmingham and six times at Mountain Brook. She also won the Selma Country Club Invitational and the Anniston Invitational Championship. Jean certainly earned bragging rights with 11 Holes-in-One thus far in her golf career.
In 1980, Jean was asked to serve on the USGA Junior Girl’s Championship Committee and she served on the this committee for 16 years before joining the USGA Women’s Committee in 1996. Jean’s work with the USGA included the LPGA/USGA Girl’s Golf Program as well as serving on the Women’s Championship Committees. Jean established the USGA Girl’s Golf National Steering Committee in 1996 and continues to serve on this committee today. Jean worked with the USGA for 26 years and was awarded the Ike Grainger Award.
Jean was President to the Ladies Birmingham Golf Association in 1989 and 1990 and President of the Women’s Alabama Golf Association in 1991 and 1992. She was presented the LBGA Special Award and the Spirit Award in 1996 and the WAGA Special Award in 1993. Jean was President of the Linly Heflin Scholarship Unit in 1985 and 1986. She was Co-Founder of the WAGA Scholarship Foundation Trust and the Lady Legacy Scholarship Foundation. Both of these foundations award college scholarships to young female golfers in the state of Alabama that are in need of financial assistance. Jean’s greatest joy has always been introducing and helping young girls learn the game, rules and etiquette of golf.
Jean was Co-Founder of the Southeastern Amateur Team Championship in 1991 establishing team competition between AL, FL, GA, LA, TN and MS. She served as Chairman of the NCAA Rules Committee and served on the College Tournament Rules Committee. She also served as the PGA Women’s Chairman in 1989 at Shoal Creek.
Jean was inducted into the Birmingham Golf Association Hall of Fame in 1980.
Although Jean was busy with family and golf, she made time to serve her community. She served as President of the Junior League of Birmingham in 1967 and 1968, served as Birmingham Museum of Art Docent and Museum Ball Chairman, was the United Way Women’s Co-Chairman, serves on the Lakeshore Foundation Board of Directors and has been active in “Village Painters” for 30+ years.