Augusta's "Bugman" Bob Miller looks at customers as family

Business owner says it's about people, not bugs
Summerville Pest Control owner Bob Miller has been in the business for more than 40 years. Miller built his client list to more than 400 people, serving homes in the Hill area and parts of Columbia County.

 

When Bob “The Bugman” Miller walked into the home of one of his regular clients five years ago, he wasn’t expecting to witness one of life’s greatest miracles.

But that’s what happened during a routine visit. The woman in full labor had opened the front door hoping her husband was there to take her to the hospital. Instead, it was Miller at the doorstep.

“She looked at me, and it wasn’t her husband,” he said. “I would have taken her though, but there wasn’t enough time. She would have had that baby before we got to the car.”

The baby boy was delivered in the living room minutes before emergency personnel arrived.

After decades of spraying homes in the greater Augusta area, Miller has just about seen it all. He has taken a customer who had just sliced off three fingers with a power saw to the hospital. He has found a briefcase containing $20,000 in cash, which he swiftly returned, sitting in someone’s driveway.

Miller also has seen his fair share of the macabre. Twice the owner of Summerville Pest Control discovered a client who had died. One man had choked on a gumball in his living room, while the other had suffered a heart attack in his front yard.

“After 40-something years, this isn’t a route,” he said. “It’s your family.”

If it hadn’t been for a flat tire in 1971, Miller might have chosen a different career path.

Stranded on Milledgeville Road, Miller said an Orkin pest control truck pulled over to assist him. The Orkin Man told him they needed extra help and persuaded Miller, then 20, to join the company.

Miller ventured out on his own just two years later and created Summerville Pest Control. Today, he still runs the business as a one-man show.

For Miller, the business has always been about the people and not the bugs.

“I like people,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing. I enjoy people and I can talk to anybody.”

Miller, who’s never advertised for his business, built his client list to more than 400 people, predominately serving homes in the Hill area and parts of Columbia County.

Through the years Miller’s customers have invited him to half a dozen weddings, one of which he walked the bride down the aisle. He’s been to graduation ceremonies and family dinners.

“There are so many people that trust my dad,” said Miller’s daughter, Stacey Miller-Loftin. “Nowadays that’s really hard to earn.”

Miller-Loftin said she constantly runs into people who know her father.

Miller’s own doctors are also his customers.

Within the past year, Miller has battled prostate cancer, suffered two strokes, a heart attack and undergone five open-heart surgeries. He only took off about a month from work.

“My dad is one of the hardest workers I know, and when we were little he would work constantly,” Miller-Loftin said. “He wouldn’t let you know he was tired.

“Reflecting as an adult, I can visualize that now. But as a kid, I just knew my dad was at everything I did.”

A proud grandfather of two, Miller continues to make school functions, ball games and other activities that his grandchildren are involved in. He said his family and his faith are everything to him.

“I do everything for the good Lord,” Miller said. “I get up everyday and the very first thing I do is say thank you Lord.”

BOB MILLER

TITLE: Owner of Summerville Pest Control

HOMETOWN: Augusta

FAMILY: Wife Brenda, daughters Stacey and Stephanie and two grandchildren

HOBBIES: Spending time with family, fishing and bowling

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Active member of Fleming Baptist Church

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