More About Dusty

Learn more about Dusty

His youth, health, and more

Growing up with
dolphins and guitars

Dusty Miller is one of those people whose life story reads like a book. Born in Daytona Beach, Florida (the 3rd generation of his family to be native to the area, and the 9th generation to be native to Florida...), Dusty grew up on the beach, riding on the back of sea turtles, playing with dolphins, surfing, and fishing.

His maternal greatgrandfather (William Franklin Miller) settled in Volusia County on the St. John's River in the 1880's. His grandparents (C. Roy & Albie Marie Miller) settled in the Daytona Beach area in the early part of the 20th century and established one of the first "motor courts" open to the general public (Joy's Court located on the river in what is now Holly Hill, Florida). His grandfather was a confidante to John D. Rockefeller and helped to build some of the WPA buildings in the area during including the famous Clock Tower on the beach and the Bandshell on the Boardwalk.

On his paternal side, one leg of his family (beginning with his grandmother Annie Zell Whatley) can be traced back through nine generations in North Florida, most notably in the Lafayette and Suwannee County areas around Live Oak. From there, Dusty and other researchers have tracked the Whatley family back through the Jamestown Colony in Virginia and into Great Britain in the 1400's.

Dusty is quite involved in genealogy research and has an extensive database of information on the names Miller, Johnson, Whatley, Bergersen, Chauncey, and on his wife's families including Fitch and Wyrick. Dusty's information on the Wyrick family is included in a recently released fourth volume of Fitch family history by historian John T. Fitch in Cambridge, MA.

He became involved in the music business at an early age and by the time he was in high school at Seabreeze Senior High, he was able to play nine different instruments including alto, bass, and tenor saxophone, clarinet, drums, guitar, piano & organ, trumpet, and dabbled with a harpsichord. This musical prowess allowed him to sit in with some of the club and dance bands in the area including the Nightcrawlers ("Little Black Egg") and the Allman Joys which later became the Allman Brothers Band.

After graduating from high school, he joined the U.S> Air Force and was stationed in Germany and in the jungles of Southeast Asia. Dusty moved across the country working in various radio stations under various "radio names" and in various formats after getting out of the U.S. Air Force in 1969. From Florida, he traveled to Savannah, GA, then to Salt Lake City, UT, California, Washington State, back across the United States to New York, then to Maryland, and back to Savannah.

In 1973, while working with the Savannah Morning News as a sports writer and editor, he began working with the former National Wrestling Alliance under the tutelage of professional wrestler and promoter Sputnik Monroe. Dusty was not a ring wrestler, but worked as a photographer and was in training as a ring announcer, substituting at times for the regular announcer at smaller shows in southeast Georgia and eastern South Carolina.

In 1974, Dusty went through the first of three divorces when his wife took their children Kelly, Bryan, and Cathy to live in Colorado. It wasn't until a number of years later that he found out where those children were, and now has made contact with the two boys. He has made contact with his daughter via email, but they have not spoken.

His third marriage produced a daughter Cassandra, who is the mother of his grandchild, Cheyenne. Cassie was raised by Dusty's 4th wife, Gloria from the time she was 4 years old. It is Gloria who is "Granma" to Cheyenne, who is best known as "Sweetpea" by line dancers around the world.

In 1982, Dusty finally found that "right one" in Gloria. Chasing after another woman in an oldies club one night, he was introduced by that woman to Gloria June Fitch, a secondary school administrator with the local school system. Six months later they married in her hometown of Ten Mile, Tennessee in the first formal wedding the town had ever seen. December 28, 2009 will mark their 27th anniversary.

In September of 1999, Dusty retired from his broadcasting and nightclub careers, and in December he and Gloria moved from Daytona Beach to the solitude of a wooded 6 1/2 acres outside of Deltona, Florida about half way between Daytona Beach and Orlando.

February 22, 2001 was a date which neither Dusty or his wife will ever forget. On that afternoon, Dusty suffered an ascending aortic dissection which ruptured his aorta leading from his heart. This is the same malady that struck down the actor John Ritter. Airlifted to Shand's Hospital at the University Of Florida, he underwent emergency open-heart surgery in the middle of the night. One of the nation's best thorasic surgeons (Dr. Tomas Martin, MD) replaced Dusty's aortic heart valve with a porksine valve, relaced 30 cm. of his aorta with a man-made material called gel-weave, and did two by-passes including a fem-to-fem bypass from one leg to another in order to by-pass two massive blood clots which had broken away from his aorta. His chance of surviving the attack and the surgery were estimated at less than 1%, but survive he did although he is now considered 100% disabled.

Information on Dusty's military service, broadcasting and entertainer career, honors bestowed on him, charities he supports, organizations he is a member of, open-heart-surgery, and contact information, can all be found by clicking on the buttons to the left.

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