Robert L. Miller

Born: August 12, 1940
Died: May 13, 2006

Robert L. Miller was born in Condo, North Dakota, the son of Brigadier General Leroy Miller, United States Army, and Ruth Farquharson. He had the typical transient childhood in a military family. He attended high school at Mynderse Academy in Seneca Falls, NY and Columbian Prep, Annapolis, Maryland.

Bob enrolled with our class in September 1958 and continued through sophomore year. He then traveled, spending time as a ranch hand in Great Falls, Montana and selling insurance in San Francisco. Subsequently, he enlisted in the Army and became a member of the 82nd Airborne Division and then the Green Berets, 7th Special Forces. He served on active duty until 1964 when he returned to Yale. He graduated with his B.A. in American History in 1966. He always chose, however, to affiliate with the Class of 1962. Bob remained in the Army Reserve until 1974, earning his commission as an officer and reaching the rank of First Lieutenant.

At Yale Bob was a member of Trumbull College. He played Freshman football and Varsity-JV football his sophomore year. He was known as a fierce competitor at end. In Trumbull he roomed with Ed Eagan, Lee Bolman and Bob Zuckert. Ed Eagan remembers Bob's sense of humor. "I have never laughed so hard in my life as when I was around Bob Miller!"

After Yale, Bob attended Cornell University School of Law and graduated with his J.D. degree in 1969. Bob then moved to Waverly, New York and opened his law practice, first in Elmira and then in Waverly. He served as the first Tioga County public defender for many years. His son Todd followed in his father's footsteps and joined him in his practice, Miller Law Offices. Following Bob's death, son Todd has now been named as an assistant public defender for Tioga County also.

Bob took on many high-profile cases during his successful personal injury and criminal defense practice, including the defense of a mother accused of killing five of her children and a successful civil trial which resulted in a $5 million verdict in an industrial accident case. He gained both notoriety and acclaim in his litigation choices according to the newspapers, and he was no stranger to controversy, once employing a psychic to assist in jury selection. He was called a fearless advocate by those who knew him.

Bob married the former Rosemarie Harrelson, a Fort Walton Beach, Florida native, in 1962. In addition to Todd, their second son, they had two other children, Jason, the eldest, who is a teacher and head football coach at Waverly High School, and a daughter Dana Miller Zhukova, an attorney in Pensacola, Florida.

Bob was well known and respected in his community and deeply involved in local projects. His favorite hobby was gardening and he and Rosemarie created a unique statuary garden at their home on about 5½ acres. It includes a pool, 13 fountains, a water fall, an Italianate grotto, rose, dahlia and tulip beds as well as hedges. One of the fountains was originally in the courtyard of the Embassy of the Austro Hungarian Empire in London. The Millers used their gardens for family and private parties and charity benefits. Bob, his widow recalls, "liked to work in the dirt with his hand, planting and weeding." The Binghamton (N.Y.) Press & Sun-Bulletin described Miller Gardens as "the most spectacular in Tioga County."

Bob loved history, fine meals, family gatherings, and traveling. He was a wonderful storyteller, his son Jason said.

Bob and Rosemarie made many trips abroad together and he always accompanied her on her bridge competitions held throughout the country and in Canada and Mexico. Jason remembers that his dad and mother came over to Europe to see all his games when he played professional football in Europe in the early 1990's.

In addition to his personal and professional achievements Bob is also still remembered in upstate New York, particularly in Seneca Falls, with awe. He played for Mynderse Academy, the year it beat Elmira Free Academy, the only team to do so, when future Heisman Trophy winner and Hall of Fame running back Ernie Davis was playing.

Bob was stricken with pancreatic cancer and courageously fought the disease, defying the odds for 3 years. Bob Zuckert, who spoke with Bob during his illness, recalls with admiration his indomitable spirit and determination. He is survived by his three children and their spouses, Jason and Jill Miller of Chemung, NY; Todd and Erin Miller of Waverly; Dana and Corby Zhukova of Gulf Breeze, Florida; seven grandchildren, Chelsea Hammond, Sam Martin Colton, Peyton and Page Miller, Ethan and Ayla Miller; and great-grandson Elliott Hammond.

The family requested that donations in his honor and memory be made to the Waverly Recreation Department, 362 Broad Street, Waverly, NY 14862.