December 17, 1938–July 18, 2017
Born in Duluth, MN, on December 17, 1938, Lloyd Miller was a kind soul, a thoughtful academic, and an accomplished individual. Following his death on July 18, 2017, in Des Moines, IA, we wish to share our memories of him with the larger anthropological community.
After serving in the US Navy, Miller completed undergraduate and master’s degrees in Ibero-American studies at the University of Wisconsin. He conducted fieldwork in Mexico among the Otomí of Huixquilucan and the Yucatán Mayans of Chan Kom. Miller’s professional achievements included a Fulbright-Hayes Group Studies Abroad grant with the University of Naucalpan (1989), for leading a group of K–12 and college teachers on a study tour through Mexico. Some of his ethnographic work and photography are included on the website Images of Anthropology. Miller also reflected on lessons from his career in his contribution to The Tao of Anthropology (2008).
Miller taught Spanish and anthropology at Kankakee Community College in Illinois (1968–1970) and then at Des Moines Area Community College (1970–2000), where he also served as the director of the social and behavioral sciences division (1974–1982). He served as the long-time editor of Teaching Anthropology: SACC Notes (1991–2014), offering anthropologists a forum to discuss pedagogy, teaching techniques, and anthropology’s broader educational mission.
Miller’s zest for life was evident beyond the academy as well. He was a fan of motorcycles. Music was another core component of Miller’s identity; he was a saxophonist and clarinetist who performed jazz, classical, and big band dance for decades. He also enjoyed an occasional visit to the Vegas blackjack tables.
Miller’s passing has been hard for those of us involved with the Society for Anthropology in Communicty Colleges (SACC) and for anyone who knew him. After all, with his laughing eyes and sharp wit, Miller was a welcoming person. As his friend and colleague Rebecca Cramer described, “when he met a person and got to know them, he took the best and left the rest. He accepted and did not judge. This, of course, made him a fine anthropologist as well as a truly decent human being. His was a generous heart and an open mind, which together made him an altogether good soul.” Miller motivated future section officers to serve SACC. He encouraged faculty to take students abroad and take on initiatives that became highlights of teaching careers and professional development.
As Laura González wrote upon Miller’s passing, “my life has been richer for his friendship. Once his spirit passes into the great Mexican sunset, I will add my memories of him and our friendship to my annual Día de los Muertos altar and remember him always. Lloyd, I wish you amor y paz.”
Lloyd Miller’s surviving family includes his children, Sam Miller and Laura Sparks (George Sparks); stepchildren Erin Drinnin (Jason Jones) and Joel Drinnin (Amanda Drinnin); six grandchildren (Nathan, Toby, Mabyn, Jade, Beatrice, and Owen); and his companion, Mary Beth Wilk. He was preceded by parents Phil and Helen Miller, wife Toby Miller, and wife Beverly Drinnin. (Sam Miller, Laura T. González, Rebecca Cramer, Barry Kass, Angela Jenks, and Alison Diefenderfer)
Cite as: Miller, Sam, Laura T. González, Rebecca Cramer, Barry Kass, Angela Jenks, and Alison Diefenderfer. 2018. “Lloyd Miller.” Anthropology News website, March 30, 2018. DOI: 10.1111/AN.816