Robert Earl “Bob” Miller, 86, beloved professor to countless engineering students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, died peacefully at home on July 24, 2019.
Born October 4, 1932, at Rockford to Leslie D. Miller and Marcia Vivian (Jones) Miller, Bob was raised by his mother and stepfather Calvert Emmet Wilson after Bob’s father died in 1935. Calvert’s daughter Marjorie Jane “Marj” Wilson and Bob were raised as siblings and attended schools together in Rockford.
In 1950, Bob entered the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering (now Aerospace Engineering), graduating in 1954. He then pursued graduate studies in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics under the legendary Prof. Henry Louis Langhaar, graduating with master’s and doctoral degrees in 1955 and 1959, respectively.
Bob then began an illustrious research career in applied mechanics at UIUC, advising more than 30 doctoral students in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics. He is perhaps best known, however, for his extraordinary effectiveness as an instructor for more than 40 years in courses in dynamics, solid mechanics, fluid mechanics, applied mathematics, and numerical analysis.
He received the College of Engineering’s William L. Everitt Award in 1976 for outstanding teaching, and for his interest in student affairs he was recognized by the engineering students in 1988 by his selection as the College of Engineering’s Honorary Knight of St. Pat. In 1991 he received the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) Distinguished Educator Award in Mechanics, and in 2010 he received the College of Engineering’s Alumni Award for Distinguished Service.
Bob never married. His stepsister Marj died in 1990. He is survived by his nephew Michael Calvert Tellison and wife Jondralyn of Chicago, and niece Kristine Ellen Tellison Connors of Sycamore and her children and grandchildren.
Memorial donations may be made to the Robert E. Miller Mechanical Science and Engineering Scholarship Fund supporting the education of undergraduate students in the UIUC Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering (University of Illinois Foundation, 1305 W. Green St., Urbana, IL 61801).
Bob’s family and close colleagues wish to thank Michael Rast of Champaign for his professional and compassionate care of Bob for more than a year preceding his death.
A kind and gentle man, Bob was always thinking of others. Per his request, there will be no services.
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