Dan Miller, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, passed away March 30, 2017, in Dayton, Ohio, at the age of 69. Dan was born in Corydon, Iowa, and later moved to Oskaloosa. Dan was a member of the Oskaloosa High School class of 1966. He recently enjoyed two class reunions last summer.
Dan earned a B.S., M.A., and Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Iowa. After teaching briefly at the University of Manitoba, Dan joined UD in 1978. He earned tenure in 1982, was promoted to Associate Professor in 1983, and was promoted to Professor in 2000. He served as Chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work from 1998-2002. Dan earned the college’s faculty award for outstanding scholarship in 2006. He retired from UD in 2014 to play golf, spend time with his family and continued to teach a class or two every Fall at UD. In his 39 years at UD, Dan was an influential scholar in the sociological field of symbolic interactionism. His article, "The Elements and Structure of Openings" (1975) was foundational in what came to be called the New Iowa School of Symbolic Interactionism. Although he was a giant in the field of symbolic interactionism, he was never one to take himself too seriously.
He wrote all of his documents in Comic Sans font, and was known for leaving cartoons and “the Onion” articles around the department. Deeply critical of “the man,” Dan was known for being a force at UD who was quick to stand up for the little guy. Department chair Leslie Picca noted, “Dan was a scholar in every sense of the word. Conversations with Dan included a magical mix of wit, wisdom, and esoteric references of popular culture. Students would flock to his classes as he didn’t just teach sociology—he taught students how to live.” Dan had a great wit and loved to laugh, often citing jokes verbatim from various comedians or movies. He played basketball in his youth and continued following college and pro ball throughout his life. Dan followed football and baseball, too. He was a proud card carrying member of the ACLU. Fond of opera, Dan introduced it to his wife. Above all Dan loved his family and friends.
Dan was preceded in death by his parents, Helen and G.F. Miller, and sisters, Doris Teed and Betty Holt.
Dan is survived by his wife of 47 years, Barb Miller; children, Nathan (Maya) and Lena (Tim); grandchildren, Romy, Jonathan, Timothy and Oliver; cousin, Nancy Shaffer (Steve); close friends, many relatives, including nieces and nephews.
A memorial service for Dan was held April 10 at Sears Recital Hall on campus.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) are requested. https://www.aclu.org.
Reis Legacy Center Meyer-Boehmer Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Words of encouragement may be sent to www.reislegacycenter.com.