Robert Howard "Bob" Miller died peacefully at his home on Grand Island on Oct. 3, 2021.
He was born April 27, 1927, to Howard G. and Elizabeth Kocsy Miller, in Riverside, New York. He received his early education there, and was a 1945 graduate of Buffalo Tech High School, engineering college preparatory course of study, becoming skilled in mechanical drafting and design. Soon after, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, and was assigned to work on link trainers at Chanute Field, Salina, Kansas. After discharge in 1947, he attended Muskingum College, New Concord, Ohio, and SUNY at Buffalo Medical School.
Miller completed a rotating internship at Deaconess Hospital along with a year of OBGYN residency training, also at Deaconess of Buffalo. He received certification of nuclear medicine from the Mayo Clinic, and began his working career in 1954 in occupational medicine at the Black Rock Industrial Clinic.
Miller was a child of the depression, and grew up with the highest regard for honesty and hard work. He was always amazed at how good fortune allowed him to become a physician. In 1954, he borrowed $1,000 to buy land on Grand Island, and built his first office and home at the corner of Stony Point and Love roads. In 1955, he began to care for his neighbors and became involved in the community.
He was the first medical director of the Grand Island Manor Nursing Home, became Grand Island School physician, and was the founding chairman of the Narcotics Guidance Council. He was named Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year, and was the last surviving founding member of the Grand Island Rotary Club, having served as president of the club, and twice being named a Paul Harris Fellow. He was twice selected as Grand Island Citizen of the Year. He and his partner, Dr. Ted Rayhill, were instrumental in the beginning of the Grand Island Rescue Squad.
Miller was a board-certified member of the American Academy of Family Practice from 1974-2000, and a professor emeritus at the University of Buffalo Medical School. He was awarded the Golden Stethoscope Award by The Erie County Chapter of the New York State Academy of Family Physicians for exceptional level of professionalism, integrity and teamwork in caring for patients and families, and collegiality with hospital staff members and other physicians.
He counted his partners, Rayhill and Dr. Tom Sheehan, as dear friends and family of choice. After nearly 50 years in the practice of medicine, he often said his career choice did not disappoint. He felt honored to be invited in people’s lives, not only in the mundane or happy times, but most importantly he wanted to be present with them in the most difficult times.
Miller practiced a quiet, deep faith and was a 50-year member at St. Timothy Evangelical Lutheran Church on Grand Island. He was steady, loving and loyal, and his well-considered perspective added value to countless conversations and people’s lives.
He enjoyed golfing and skiing, and had a lifelong passion for reading. Miller particularly loved fishing the Niagara River with his close friend, Ron Case. Neither of them was ever able to count the hours they spent together in the boat, winter or summer, needing few words to communicate. Also, his interest as a licensed pilot enabled him to be a certified FAA flight examiner.
Dr. Miller is survived by his wife, Shari, of Grand Island; his son, Jim (Kristin) Miller, of Orchard Park; his daughter, Jordan (Adam) Miller-Stubbendick of Kenmore; his grandchildren: Jake, Carson and Grace Miller, and Julian and Ari Miller-Stubbendick. Additional family members include his brother, Jerry (Margaret) Franklin; sister-in-law, Jann Fisher; brother-in-law, Mark Brakke; and nephews and nieces.
His memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 16, at St. Timothy Lutheran Church, 1453 Staley Road. With respect for his 50 years of providing care, and the continued challenges of COVID-19, masks will be necessary during the service.
The service will be livestreamed on the St. Timothy Church website. Share condolences at kaiserfuneal.com.
Robert Howard "Bob" Miller.