WATERVILLE — On Monday, for the first time in nearly two decades, a particular booth in Jorgensen’s Cafe was empty.

All day and every day, Vernon Miller could be found at Jorgensen’s Cafe on Main Street, making him perhaps the best known regular in the city. Miller, who died at the age of 92 on Sunday, had been going to the cafe for 14 years, ever since his wife died. Miller was such a fixture that he had his own table at the cafe with a sign to prove it. It read “Reserved for Vernon.”

In honor of Miller, the cafe sold small coffees for just 92 cents, and it made a few of his favorite orders the special: a Thanksgiving wrap one day, meatloaf panini another.

Theresa Dunn, who bought the cafe this past summer after working there for more than 17 years, remembered Miller as a caring man who wanted to help others. Every day he would come in and get his usual, a coffee and a muffin, and then would sit in his usual seat, counseling any and everyone who shared his booth.

“It made him happier knowing he had helped someone who was having a rough time,” Dunn said.

Miller, who lived in Fairfield, affectionately referred to Dunn as his daughter. Although the two were not related, Dunn said they were close. Miller always asked about her family and pets, and they exchanged birthday cards and Christmas gifts each year.

“He was like family to us,” she said.

As of Friday, an obituary had not been published for Miller.

On Jorgensen’s Facebook page, dozens of commenters posted fond remarks about Miller, expressing condolences on his passing. Dunn said Miller was close with the staff at Jorgensen’s, buying them chocolates every Valentine’s Day.

In a documentary by a former Colby student posted online, Miller talks about what he saw as his purpose in life: to help other people. A deeply devout Christian, Miller said he believed people were put on Earth to be together, and he believed he was given a gift to get close to people. He would go to Jorgensen’s every day when it opened, the exact time depending on when he could get a ride into town, and would stay essentially until the restaurant closed. In those hours, he would talk to anyone and everyone he could, attempting to help in any way he could.

“I just want to live for other people,” Miller said in the short documentary.

Miller sat in the same booth every day, and Dunn said he left his books and notes at the table so he didn’t have to carry them back and forth. She said he particularly enjoyed reading the Bible in that spot, as the light came in just right. While the spot did have a sign reserving the booth for Miller, Dunn said the cafe is working on finding a replacement sign to memorialize him.

“We still want people to be able to sit there without feeling like it’s being reserved,” Dunn said.

Dunn added Miller will be greatly missed, not just by the Jorgensen’s staff but by anyone who came in contact with him. She said she believes he died peacefully, knowing that he helped a lot of people.

“He was so well known,” Dunn said.

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

[email protected]

Twitter: @colinoellis


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