HELENA-WEST HELENA —
|Dr. Robert D. Miller Jr.|
Born to his loving parents, Doris Cox Miller and Dr. Robert D. Miller Sr., Robert Dan Miller Jr. came into the world on Sunday, March 22, 1931 in Helena. While growing up, Robert loved playing with his older sisters Maxine and Doris Ann. Later, he would spend time taking care of and bonding with his beloved brother, Granville. As a product of a Christian home, Robert received Christ and was baptized while attending his mother’s church as a child. Later, when he went to Xavier University, he converted to Catholicism. When Robert and his family returned back to Helena in 1967, he became a member of St. Mary’s Church where he remained an active member until his health became such that he could not attend anymore. Robert attended Carter Chapel AME Church so that he could continue to have spiritual fellowship with the brethren. Robert would always say, “Sunday was for going to church.”
After graduating from Eliza Miller High School in 1948 at the age of 16, Robert went to Xavier University in New Orleans where he ran track and played on the college’s football team. Interestingly, Robert did not major in science as his career would eventually lead him. Rather he graduated from Xavier with a degree in business in 1952. Upon his graduation, Robert came back to Arkansas and became principal of Rondo High School for a year. Later, Robert would fondly remark, “I had absolutely no experience in education. The only criteria for being principal of Rondo was that you needed a college degree. I guess I fit the bill!”
Being principal of Rondo was a turning point in Robert’s life because it was there that he decided he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a physician. With that in mind, after finishing a couple years in the Army stationed in Korea, Robert returned stateside and enrolled in graduate school at Tennessee “A&I” (now known as Tennessee State University). A&I was a significant juncture in Robert’s life because it was there that he met his wife and soul mate, Trudy Lester. On their first date, New Year’s Eve 1962, Robert told Trudy that he was going to marry her. She laughed, but Robert’s prediction proved to be true. Robert and Trudy were married on his birthday, March 22, 1963.
Robert later graduated from Meharry Medical College and returned to practice medicine at his father’s practice, Miller Clinic. Besides practicing medicine, Robert was the first African American doctor at Helena Hospital where he served as chief of staff. Robert was also the first African American board president of the Arkansas Board of Health, a member of Phillips County Quorum Court and later the first African American mayor of Helena.
Preceding Robert in death was his mother and father D.C. and Dr. Robert Miller, his brother Granville Miller and his grandson George Miller.
Dr. Miller leaves his wife of 49 years, T.L. Miller, his sisters Maxine A. Miller, Doris Ann Aubry, and his cousin that was raised as his brother, George Miller, his four children, Maxine D. Miller, Robert D. Miller, III, Brian S. Miller, and Kyle T. Miller. Dr. Miller also leaves seven grandchildren, Robert Dan, IV, Elijah Ross, Zoë Madison, Alexandria Stacy, Adrianne Simone, Brian David, and Abraham Zachary, along with numerous nieces and nephews in the Miller and Aubry families, along with many cousins and relatives.
Visitation will be Friday, May 11, 2012 from noon to 5 p.m. at Stephens Funeral Home Chapel in Helena-West Helena.
There will be rosary service at noon Saturday May 12 followed by funeral services starting at 1p.m. at St. Mary’s Church. Interment will be at Magnolia Cemetery.
Services are entrusted to Stephens Funeral Home.
Family and friends can share their memories online at www.stephensfuneralhome1949.