William Miller

 

Bill passed away peacefully on May 4, 2020 in his Albuquerque home.  He was born on a December morning out west to Frederick (Fred) and Bessie, when boiling water to thaw the pump on winter mornings was a daily chore.  When Bill was six, his father died of tuberculosis, so his mother, a career telephone operator, moved Bill and his older brother, Frederick (Fred), back to Rochester, NY where she was from. Bill was the more studious, while Fred was the perfectionist artisan. His mother, a convert, raised her sons in the Catholic faith, a faith that was enduring throughout his life.  Bill decided that becoming a priest was the most honorable thing he could do with his life so he began attending the seminary in high school continuing on to the major seminary for college.  Although he was an excellent student, he determined that he had not been called to the priesthood shortly before he would have been ordained to the deaconate.  During one break from the seminary he saw something called television in a store window.  It was brand new and pretty unimpressive, not likely to become a popular item. After leaving the seminary, Bill enlisted in the army as the honorable option to being drafted shortly before the Korean War ended.  His intelligence and attention to detail earned him a position in the Central Intelligence Corps.  He considered a career in the military, but soon discovered that he was not drawn to the military.  After being discharged, he began studies at The University of Tulsa, first in petroleum engineering and then in geology.  He could tell you the composition of any rock or identity of any fossil even years after leaving the field.  While Bill was at The University of Tulsa he met his future wife, Rose Anna, a beautiful, young woman from Arkansas, who was as practical as he was cerebral.  They married in 1957 and had their first daughter, Cynthia, while living in Tulsa.  After earning his BS in 1959, he moved his young family to Missoula, MT where he continued his studies at the University of Montana.  Among other things, he learned Russian and how to deal with extreme cold.  Their second daughter, Catherine, was born on a cold January morning, and two years later, James (Jim) was born.  Despite copious and meticulous field work, one of Bill’s dissertation advisors decided that Bill needed to spend another summer doing field work.  At this point, Bill had landed a job teaching at Imperial Valley College in southern California and had a family to support, so the appellation of Dr. Miller was not to be.  Bill’s lifelong hobby of studying populations and geography, starting in the second grade, came into play with his first teaching job, since they wanted someone to teach geography and geology.  He could tell you the population of any country, state, or city.  If you came from a small town 1,500 miles away, he could tell you not only where it was, but also its population history.  He went above and beyond the call of duty to help each student achieve their best potential.  The happiness and success of others were always his chief concern.  Their last daughter, Roxanne (Roxie) was born while the family lived in the small town of Holtville, CA, Carrot Capitol of the World.  In 1968, they moved back to Bill’s hometown, Rochester, NY to be closer to his aging mother who lived another 31 years to be nearly 102.  He taught at Monroe Community College continuing to mentor students from all walks of life and all abilities until 1981.  Bill had a tremendous sense of adventure and loved to travel.  While living in Rochester, Bill took his family on camping trips out west visiting many of our beautiful state and national parks.  Friday evenings were reserved for family trips to the local public library.  Thursday nights were outings to the Rochester Museum where old movies were shown, such as “And Then There Weren’t Any” or “And Then There Were None” to the rest of us.  And don’t forget the music legend Marvin Spreckly or was that Elvis Presley?  If you needed anything cold, you could always get it out of the icebox.  It never became a refrigerator.  Although, one of his favorite mottos was “A little pain never hurt anyone” especially when speaking to his children, he enjoyed the indulgences of strawberry ice cream and Hershey’s chocolate.  At the age of 50, he decided that he had had enough of the Rochester winters, so he went to Rochester Institute of Technology full time while still teaching half time and earned his MBA.  Upon his graduation, the family moved to Albuquerque.  He had been to Albuquerque as a teenager to visit and told the story of his brother, Fred, and him visiting during the summer of 1945.  Every room was full as the troops were moving across the country, but they eventually found some floor space to sleep on.  Early that morning, they were awakened by a thunderous boom, the explosion of the first atomic bomb at Trinity Site over 120 miles to the south.  After moving to Albuquerque in 1981, Bill soon began a career as an internal auditor and then as a contract auditor at Sandia National Laboratories.  He applied the same diligence to auditing and mentoring new hires as he did to teaching.  He retired at the age of 62 so he could spend more time with his favorite and only wife, Rose Anna.  They had been married 40 years when she passed away. 

 

            Bill was always very generous with those in need.  Though he never had a high paying job, he managed his money wisely preferring to give it to those who were in need over spending it on himself.  He genuinely cared about people and remembered those who came into his life.  At the age of 79, Bill became a father-in-law to Roxie’s husband, John.  Bill always spoke highly of John, even if he is a Texan.  The two developed a strong friendship, and John could always get a smile out of Bill by calling him Wild Bill.

 

            Bill had a characteristic little smile and left this world with that same smile on his face.  Bill was preceded in death by his parents, Fred and Bessie, beloved wife Rose Anna, brother Fred and his wife Bernadine (Bernie), brothers-in-law Cecil and Sam, and nieces Pamela and Barbara.  He is survived by his daughters, Cynthia and Catherine, son Jim, daughter Roxie (John), and John’s sons, Chris (Naomi) and Kevin (Sarah), granddaughter Noel, sisters-in-law Jeanne and Elizabeth, and many nieces, nephews and their children and grandchildren.  The family would like to extend a special thanks to Sharon, his nurse, and Aracely, his aide for their invaluable assistance and friendship.  Bill will be laid to rest in Albuquerque with his beloved wife, Rose Anna.  A memorial service will be held at a later date. 

 

 

 

Arrangements entrusted to:

Riverside Funeral Home of Albuquerque

225 San Mateo Blvd. NE

(505) 764-9663

 



Condolences

Joan Dean May 10 ,2020

Student of Bill, who became my oldest and most cherished friend ,Covington ,Kentucky

Professor Miller taught me, my sister, my brother and my mother. He turned me from a school-hating young woman into a world-traveling teacher. I took every class he taught, and when he announced that he was moving to New Mexico, I was distraught! I gave him a gift, an Address Book! I never wanted to lose touch with him, and I never did. Thanks to his devoted family I got to see a photograph of him shortly before he passed away, I phoned him from some of my more exotic destinations, like Bahrain and Lebanon.. He was “one in a million.” I will cherish my memories of visiting him and his beautiful famiily in Albuquerque, and will be eternally grateful to God for bringing this saintly and wonderful man into my life..