Don Miller

Return to Obituaries


March 16, 1942 - August 28, 2015

Leave a message of condolence


Friday, September 4, 2015 from 4-7 p.m., Moreland Funeral Home


Saturday, September 5, 2015 11 a.m., First Presbyterian Church of Westerville


Blendon Central Cemetery


Don Wilson Miller, 73, of Westerville, passed away Friday, August 28, 2015. He was in Hospice Care at St. Ann’s Hospital in Westerville battling complications from the multiple sclerosis that had been a part of his life since his early 20s. Don is survived by his children Amy (Robb) Shannon of Worthington, OH, Stacy (Michael) Stelling of Denver, CO, and Paul Miller of Columbia, SC; grandchildren Tanner, Sydney, and Olivia Shannon, Lydia and Maiana Stelling, Grayson, Talbert, and Wilson Miller; long-time friend and former wife, Tommie Miller of Westerville, brother Tom (Roberta) Miller of Westerville, sister-in-law, Melinda Miller of Westerville, nephews Jason, Andrew and Brian Miller, and grand-nephew Noah Miller. Known to many as “Bill,” Don was a paper boy, a boy scout, a member of Westerville’s first Little League baseball team, and an avid amateur radio operator (K8CKP). His lifelong love of history and reading biographies began as a young boy. As a student at Westerville High School, he played the snare drum in marching band, was a member of Bi Phy Chem Club, served as president of Hi-Y, and lettered in track among many other activities. Before heading off to college in Oxford, Ohio, Don served in the Westerville Army Reserve Unit. At Miami University, he studied physics and enjoyed his membership in Alpha Delta Phi Fraternity. He was recognized as a member of Phi Eta Sigma, the freshman honorary fraternity, and a member of Sigma Phi Sigma, physics honorary, while at Miami. Don completed both a B.S. (1964) and M.S. (1966) at Miami before returning to the Columbus area to continue his studies at The Ohio State University. Upon completion of his Masters and Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering in 1971, Don joined the faculty at OSU as an assistant Professor. He went on to achieve full Professorship and to serve as the Chair of the Nuclear Engineering Program from 1978-1992 and the Director of the Nuclear Reactor Laboratory at Ohio State. He was involved with the Instrument Society of America (ISA) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). His interest in nuclear power plant instrumentation and human interface drove him to become associated with the American Nuclear Society (ANS) in 1980, where he was elected as Fellow in 1991 and served as president 1996-1997. In the 1980s, he also commenced involvement with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and was appointed to serve a 4-year term on the NRC Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards in 1995. His involvements with the ANS and NRC resulted in many international trips between 1995 and 1999. Don represented both organizations with visits to England, France, Finland, Austria, Norway, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and India. He retired from his Nuclear Engineering Professorship at Ohio State in 2010, but continued to be actively involved in the University as a season ticket holder at Buckeye football games and advisor to many graduate students in his department. During his tenure at OSU, Don was the recipient of the OSU College of Engineering Research Award and recognized as an OSU College of Engineering Distinguished Alumnus. Subsequent to his retirement, Don earned the OSU Mechanical Engineering Bertha Lamme Feicht award in 2011 for his many noteworthy contributions to Nuclear Engineering, while overcoming significant obstacles during the span of his career. Don maintained ties to Miami throughout his life, recognized as a Hughes Society OWL (Older Wiser Leader) upon his 50th reunion. A native and long-time resident of Westerville, Don served as a Westerville City Schools’ school board member during the years of 1976-1991, performing duties as President in 1978, ’79, ’86, ’87, and ’88. He was actively involved in Westerville Kiwanis Club. He served on the Board of Directors of Cellar Lumber Company. He was recognized as a distinguished alumnus of Westerville High School. He was a member of the Hoover Sailing Club. He was a long-time member of the First Presbyterian Church of Westerville. Don moved to Friendship Village of Columbus in 2002 and took up an active and involved position in his community there – regularly playing cards and bingo, partaking in social events and book clubs, and watching sports and movies with the many friends he found there over the years. Distinguished among his many accolades and accomplishments was Don’s love for his three children and eight grandchildren. Don was preceded in death by his parents Don P. Miller and Rachel Jones Miller, his brother John B. Miller, sister Jean Miller Dahoda. Friends may call at the MORELAND FUNERAL HOME, 55 E. Schrock Road, Westerville Friday 4-7 p.m.. Memorial Service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 5th at First Presbyterian Church, 41 W. College Avenue, Westerville. Rev. Mark Gauen, officiating. Private family graveside service Blendon Central Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations to First Presbyterian Church of Westerville.


Donald Glower - Sep 3, 2015

Don Miller was an educator, shining out from among the very best. As one of his teachers, I can claim him as one of the jewels in my crown. His contributions to his students and to the technical world are large. His life was one of giving and he leaves the world a much better place for his having been here. His life was difficult and trying, but he cheerfully made a difference to many. His passing leaves us recalling fond memories of his dedication and patience and his leadership to motivate both his students and his colleagues. It is sad to lose Don, but his life was one that resulted in enriching us all, leaving behind a large and complex legacy. He won many victories for humanity and we all profit from his having walked among us. His spirit lives on through those he touched during his career, even though his loss diminishes us. We remember him fondly as a model for us all. Would there be more of us like Don.

Fritz Milligan - Sep 2, 2015

What a wonderful obituary! “Bill”, as I knew him, was a man of such great character, such good judgment, such perseverance when confronted with adversity. Certainly, he is one of the best of our generation. I am so grateful and proud to have shared his friendship for sixty years. Although I am sorry he is not here in the flesh, I know he will always be with us, providing support and guidance when we need it. Fritz Milligan

Joseph Talnagi - Sep 1, 2015

Sincere condolences to the Miller family on Don’s passing. I knew him to be a knowledgeable and inspiring mentor, and a kind-hearted and devoted friend. I first met Don Miller in the summer of 1977, when he invited me to Columbus to talk about studying in the NE program at Ohio State. I was fresh out of grad school (the first time) and working at a job I didn’t much enjoy, lacking in direction, discipline, and vision. Don provided those, which literally turned my life around. In short, he made a difference. I mourn his passing but am thankful for his life well-lived.

John Burt - Sep 1, 2015

I first met Don when we attended graduate school at Miami of Ohio in 1964. We moved from Miami to Ohio State in 1966 to continue our studies. Many enjoyable times at Ohio State (script Ohio, the Varsity Club, etc.) with Don & Tommy plus others in the Department. The years have been tough on Don and a lesser man would have given up….he did not. When we learned of Don’s passing, it occurred to me that in spite of his health problems, Don’s life was “a life well lived”. Our condolences to his family.
John G. Burt, Austin, TX

Wes Hines - Aug 31, 2015

I wanted to express my condolences to the family.
Dr. Miller was my mentor and PhD adviser. I graduated in 1994 and so much of my success can be directly attributed to his guidance. I went to OSU after my Navy commitment and only expected to stay for a MS degree. However, I enjoyed working with Don and others so much that I stayed on for a PhD. I continued in academia and am currently the Department Head at the University of Tennessee.
Don was a thoughtful, engaging, and extremely supportive individual. I remember traveling with him often and was always in awe by the fortitude and perseverance he exhibited in the struggle his disease gave him. He never once complained and always had an attitude to succeed.
We will all miss him deeply.
Dr. Wes Hines
OSU PhD NE 1994

Tom & Diana Blue - Aug 31, 2015

Dear Miller Family, We are so very sorry for your loss. Don was one of the first people to greet us when we moved to Ohio in 1984. We will always remember his ability to face obstacles with determination, his contributions to the field of Nuclear Engineering, and his devotion to his family.

Return to Obituaries