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ONEONTA - Fred Miller, PhD, 86, of Oneonta passed away on June 13, 2017 after a brief battle with cancer.
He was born in Muncie,Indiana in 1930 to Christian and Sylvia Miller.
Fred spent the first years of his life as a member of his family's trapeze flying act, The Flying Millers in which he began performing at age three. The family traveled and performed at various fairs and with varied circuses across the United States throughout the Great Depression until the start of the Second World War.
When the family was on the road Fred would quickly be enrolled at the local school in whatever town they were performing in. Due to the family's travel schedule it was not unusual for Fred to spend only a few days in each of these new schools. His parent's commitment to his education helped cement the dedication to learning he exhibited throughout his life.
Fred earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees from Trinity University in Texas. He went on to study at Columbia University in New York and received his PhD from the University of Texas in 1962.
Fred served in the United States Army during the Korean Conflict, stationed in Washington, D.C. He was honorably discharged in 1955.
Dr. Miller began his teaching career at Trinity University, then taught at Boston University, and arrived at the State University of New York at Oneonta in 1964 where he taught in the Speech and Theatre Department until his retirement in 1998. Dr. Miller taught various courses over his career and was well known for the many plays he directed showing a particular gift for directing comedies. Dr. Miller used his distinctive voice to narrate local programs, voice over commercials, and was the voice of the Oneonta Indians semi-professional football team.
While teaching in Oneonta Fred was instrumental in organizing and developing the statewide United University Professions union and devoted many years working throughout the state and the county helping teachers and other employees achieve the recognition and compensation they deserve.
Fred was predeceased by his wife of 54 years, Billie. He is survived by his children and their spouses; Chris Miller and wife Michelle of Oneonta, Amy Rider and husband Bill of Vermont and his beloved grandchildren Kate Blanchard, Mary Stewart, Colleen Stewart, Hannah Rider and Christopher Blemur.
Fred will perhaps best be remembered for his kindly, dignified, gray-haired demeanor and for taking napkin art to a new level. Over the years his doodles made appearances throughout the county and were appreciated by many. He will be missed.
There will be a gathering for friends and family on July 8, 2017 from 1-3 p.m. at the Heritage building located at the Plains at Parish Homestead in Oneonta.
In lieu of flowers contributions may be made in his name to Chase Memorial Nursing Home, New Berlin.
Published on June 18, 2017
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