Don Miller, M.D.

Don Robert Miller, M.D. died quietly in the company of his family on July 15 at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.
Don R. Miller was born on July 6, 1925 in Highland, KS to Pleasant V. Miller and Lucyanna Hammond Miller, and grew up in Kansas City, KS, where he graduated with honors from Wyandotte High School.  He was an Eagle Scout. As a pre-medical student in the V12 program, he graduated from Westminster College, Fulton, MO and received his medical degree from the University of Kansas School of Medicine in 1948.  After an internship at the University of Illinois Research and Educational Hospital in Chicago, he began general practice in Kansas City, KS.  Dr. Miller served in the United States Navy as a surgeon with a Marine MASH Unit during the Korean War. After serving his country, he returned to Kansas where he entered the residency program in surgery at the University of Kansas Medical Center.  He began a lifelong academic career, becoming a Professor of Surgery at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Dr. Miller and family spent a sabbatical year in Zurich, Switzerland participating in research with renowned Swedish physician, Dr. Ake Senning. In 1973 he left the University of Kansas to become Director of Surgical Services at the Orange County Medical Center and Professor of Surgery for the University of California-Irvine.  He served as consultant to the Veterans Administration Hospital and US Naval Hospital, Long Beach, California.  Upon retirement from University of California-Irvine, he was appointed Professor Emeritus of Surgery.  His long list of professional achievements includes election to Honor Medical Society Alpha Omega Alpha, President of the Southern California Chapter American College of Surgeons, Governor at Large of the American College of Surgeons, and President of the University of Kansas Medical Center Alumni Association.  Dr. Miller authored numerous articles in professional journals and served at the forefront of research, education and practice in the field of general and thoracic surgery for nearly five decades.

Dr. Miller was proud of his Kansas roots, and enjoyed farming interests with brother, Plez Miller, in Doniphan County, Kansas. He was an accomplished woodworker, building furniture and boats, and sailed at Quivira Lake in Kansas City. He loved the Pacific Ocean coastline, the Corona del Mar Community Garden, and camping with family throughout the Western States. Don was a humble man, intelligent, independent, kind and quiet, who devoted his life to helping others, his family, and the church. He held principles, integrity and honesty in the highest regard.

Don Miller is survived by his wife of sixty-three years, Geraldine Ellen Miller of Lawrence, KS; and their children Don R. Miller Jr. of Philadelphia, PA (Susan Thompson), Laurie Van Auken of Prairie Village, KS (Richard Van Auken), Todd Nelson Miller of Atchison, KS (Faye Miller), Marcie Miller Gross of Kansas City, MO (Bryan Gross), Kristen Ellen Miller of Portland, OR (Heinz Popiela), and Felicia Schober of Nixa, MO (Mark Schober); grandchildren Peter, David, and Steven Van Auken, Wesley and Lucyanna Gross, Harrison, Eden, and Ella Schober, and Ellen Miller, Margaret White and Harry Trotter. 

The family wishes to express its deepest gratitude to the doctors, nurses and staff of Pioneer Ridge, Lawrence Memorial Hospital and the Douglas County VNA Hospice for their thorough and thoughtful care. We extend special thanks to Dr. Donald Hatton.

He will lie in state on Sunday July 18 from 4-9 p.m. at Warren-McElwain Mortuary 120 W. 13th St. Lawrence, KS 66044, 785-843-1120

Funeral services will be held Monday, July 19 at 11am, Trinity Episcopal Church, 1011 Vermont, Lawrence, KS followed by burial at Iola Cemetery, Sparks, Kansas. In lieu of flowers, please send memorial contributions to Trinity Episcopal Church of Lawrence or KUEndowment-KU Medical Center and may be sent in care of the mortuary.



8 Condolences

  1. Kim and Terry Mandle on July 16, 2010 at 12:00 am

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Miller family during this difficult time.

    Kim and Terry

  2. Ray and Mary Alderson on July 17, 2010 at 12:00 am

    Our condolances on the passing of a great Doctor and long ago classmate.

  3. Jeanne & Jim Rost on July 17, 2010 at 12:00 am

    Dear Mark, Felicia and Miller Family,
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you. May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

    Jeanne & Jim

  4. Bill Mayer on July 17, 2010 at 12:00 am

    Dear Gerry and family:

    Beverly and I are so sorry for your loss of Don, but considering the difficulties and pain he suffered for so long, we know he’s in a much better place and comforted, at long last!

    Too few people realize just what a fabulous citizen, doctor and family leader Don was. It is great to get all that on the record in his death notice to let other generations know his incredible value as a great American. And always a gentleman, even when nobody was looking.

    Don and I (Bill) became friends in the seventh grade at Northwest Junior High and I (and Bev) never had a better friend. We got to know Gerry at Wyandotte. Not only was Don brilliant in so many fields but he did it with lilt and a gentleness that few of us have ever seen. Yet he could be tough, real tough. I’ll (Bill) never forget the time a bully was pounding me to a pulp in junior high and Don leaped in and vaccinated him hard. Never bothered me a again. So great to have a guardian angel of that caliber.

    Bev and I feel so fortunate to have had Don and Gerry as classmates at Wyandotte High, Class of 1943, where Don and Ed Guy were the top schloars in a class of more than 600. We never were surprised that Don became such a force for good in so many ways, and we’re intensely proud to have been considered friends of the Miller family. Little wonder if you all beam with pride about the honor and dignity this incredible man brought into our midst.

    We hope the grief fades fast and gives way to a warmth of enjoyment and understanding about the wondrous things Don brought to us all in so many ways.

    If anyone ever earned the right to find ultimate satisfaction, peace and comfort, Don Miller certainly did.

    With great pride and honor at sharing a fabulous series of pinpoints in the life of Don and family . . .

    Bill and Bev Mayer

  5. Edith Evans (Mrs. Ray Evans) on July 18, 2010 at 12:00 am

    I send you my love. I’m sorry my health issues keep my from attending the service. I will be there in spirit. All my love, Edith

  6. Edith Evans (Mrs. Ray Evans) on July 18, 2010 at 12:00 am

    I send you my love. I’m sorry my health issues keep my from attending the service. I will be there in spirit. All my love, Edith

  7. Cynnie Allbritten Vlasak on July 19, 2010 at 12:00 am

    Dear Mrs. Miller,
    Warm memories of the long friendship between both of you and my parents, Frank and Bunny, touch my heart and I join in your sorrow at Dr. Miller’s passing. Comfort, blessings, and love to you and your family.

  8. RICHARD KALICH on May 8, 2024 at 8:39 pm

    May 8, 2024
    I still think fondly of this wonderful man. i am alive today, ,now age 77 with children and grandchildren, because of his tremendous skill as a surgeon back in 1964. I had no hope at all of reaching age 20 without him. I think of him many times over the years and pray for him. I wish there was a way to still thank him and so this message. The gift of life is such a great gift. Thanks again Doctor Miller. Your work still lives.

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