Santa Clara Magazine is published in print for alumni and friends of the University. It is updated weekly on the web.
Michael J. Miller ’55 was a longtime physician at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, after completing his medical internship and residency at OHSU. During his lifelong commitment to helping others, he served as OHSU’s associate professor of pediatric infectious disease (ID), professor of pediatrics, and associate dean for Student Affairs. He received five Allen J. Hill Teaching Awards during his tenure. His dedication to education is reflected in the OHSU Michael Miller Faculty Teaching Award, which is awarded annually to a current pediatric faculty member who exemplifies Mike’s passion to teach. The graduating OHSU medical students choose the awardee each spring. In addition to teaching, caring for patients, and providing ID consultations at OHSU, Mike also served as an ID consultant to hospitals throughout the Portland area and provided lectures in the Navajo region of the Indian Health Service. Prior to his retirement in 2007, he served as director of OHSU’s student health center. Mike received his Doctor of Medicine degree from University of Oregon in 1960 after graduating from SCU. He completed a fellowship in infectious disease at Stanford in 1967 under Jack Remington. Mike attended St. Agatha’s Catholic School and Central Catholic High School in Portland, Oregon. He was doctor and mentor to many physicians and students who studied and served at OHSU and Doernbecher. If you knew any doctors or health care professionals who worked or trained at OHSU anytime from 1967 through 2007, undoubtedly they knew Mike and benefited from his wise counsel and humor. Outside the traditional instruction, Mike gave of his own time to teach critical thinking and diagnostic strategies in an informal setting to any student who wished to attend. It was a popular twice-a-week event the students named “Miller Time.” Many of his students (along with family and friends) also enjoyed the bashes he hosted at his dream beach house near Gearhart, Oregon, in the 1980s and 90s. So much of Mike’s life was devoted to his service as doctor and teacher, but he also was a devout Catholic, caregiver, and friend to all. Mike always wore his St. Christopher medallion and had a special adoration for the Blessed Virgin Mary. He spent many hours daily praying the rosary. When he wasn’t praying, he was cooking. Mike’s gourmet skills and culinary delights kept us coming back for seconds and asking for the recipe. He typed up all his recipes (more than 5,000 of them!) to share with family and friends. When he wasn’t cooking, Mike was a real “foodie,” enjoying the top restaurants in Portland with family and friends. His passions included travel and several adventures with the Peace Corps. The continent of Africa held a special place in Mike’s heart. Trip after trip to Zimbabwe, Botswana, Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Niger to bring updated medical information to help the people. He brought home many mementos of his travels there along with photos from safaris. Whether you called him Mike, Doctor Mike, Doctor Miller, Doc, Uncle Mike, Gomer or Gome, he made a difference in your life and brought joy into any room he entered. Mike passed away on Feb. 12, 2018, after a brief illness. He was 84 years old. As his good friend of many years, Bruce Blank said, “Mike’s passing has left a hole in our hearts,” and “the planet Earth has just suffered a seismic shift.” Mike was a beloved brother, uncle, and friend who touched all with his humor, generosity, and genuine kindness. Mike was preceded in death by brothers Paul E. Miller Jr. and Joseph A. Miller; his sister, Martha A. Altstadt; and niece Heidi. He is survived by his sister, M. Susan Beal; sisters-in-law, Joyce and Barbara; his many nephews and nieces, Mark, Paul, Peter, John, Matt, Ginny, Susan, Libby, Roberta, and Kim; and their families.