John Miller, longtime biology professor, memorialized

Friends and family of the late former Baldwin Wallace University Professor of Biology John Miller held a memorial on Oct. 6 to commemorate his life and his work.

The memorial service was followed by a reception with his family and was hosted at The United Methodist Church of Berea, where Miller had ushered for many years alongside some of Berea’s community members.

“There are a lot of people who share a love for the natural world because of John,” said Sharon Hosko, manager at the Brecksville Nature Center.

Miller worked alongside Hosko at the Brecksville Nature Center for twelve years after retiring from a longtime profession at BW and was considered by many as a valued member of the BW community.

“He was very excited and enthusiastic all the time,” said Hosko.

Hosko, herself, was a prior student of Miller’s, and alumni of BW before becoming Miller’s boss at the Brecksville Nature Center after Dr. Miller retired from teaching.

The Brecksville Nature Center has honored Miller for all his hard work. There, a photograph of Miller and his great granddaughter, Rebecca, playing in a creek can be found hung up on a wall. Under the photograph, one of Miller’s favorite quotes by Rachel Carson from her novel Sense of Wonder is scribed.

“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder,” the quote states, “he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.”

Among many of his students is Michael Kovach, a biology professor at BW. Kovach recalls a time when Miller had taken him along with other students on a road trip to the Florida Keys.

“What sticks out in my memory,” said Kovach, “is on one of those trips driving along in the Winnebago, we quickly pulled to the side of the road like you would if you have a flat tire, or something, but when we did that, we pulled over because Miller had spotted an osprey. So, we all exited the Winnebago with binoculars so we could observe the osprey on the side of the road. When I think of him that’s what I remember, that passion.”

Miller was deeply loved within the Berea community as well as at BW. His passion lives on through many of his students, like Hosko and Kovach, who have gone on to share his same love of nature.

“I believe,” Miller was quoted saying, “that helping more people have waves of enthusiasm about living in a world ecosystem rather than apart from it will make a contribution to our becoming a sustainable earth society.”