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Obituary for Dairy Research Scientist Dr. Robert H. “Bob” Miller
June 6, 2017
Everyone at Cowsmopolitan extends our deepest sympathies and condolences to the family and friends of dairy research scientist Dr. Robert H. “Bob” Miller, who passed away on May 28th.

Life of Dr. Robert H. “Bob” Miller

Dr. Robert H. Miller passed away on Sunday, May 28, 2017. He was born on June 8, 1934, son to the late Henry Eugene Miller and Margaret West Miller. Robert and his loving wife Vivian Johansson Miller were members of First  Presbyterian Church of Howard County,MD. He was a former Deacon, Elder and church treasurer at the Church of the Pilgrims, Wash. D.C.

After retirement, he graciously gave his time as a volunteer with the Foreign Information and Referral Service in Columbia, MD, and pursuing his many hobbies, including folk and bluegrass music; Greek art and histroy; and genealogy.

As a loving husband, father, son and brother, he is survived by his wife, son Kenneth Matthew Miller of Alexandria, VA and sister Betty Miller Greenhill (Mooresville, NC).

He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers; Kenneth West Miller and James Eugene Miller.

Bob Miller was a graduate of North Carolina State University (B.S., agriculture, 1956; Ph.D., dairy cattle genetics, 1962) and Michigan State University (M.S., dairy science, 1958).

He began his career with U.S.D.A.’s Agriculture Research Service (ARS) in 1960 as a dairy husbandman in Beltsville, MD. He also served as a biometrician and research geneticist before being appointed cheif of the Genetics and Management Laboratory in Beltsville in 1972.

In 1979, after ARS reorganization, Miller became the research leader of the Milk Secretion and Mastitis Laboratory and remained in that position for 23 years until his retirement.

Early in Bob’s ARS career, he devised a new genetic experimental design for estimation o f non-additive genetic variation in animals. He also conducted extensive research on methods to increase the accuracy of genetic evaluations of dairy bulls and developed the formulation and implementation for the first national dairy cow evaluations. He conducted a series of studies to quantify milk yield inpact from increased milk somatic cell count and bacterial infection as well as a series of studies to determine whether mastitis defense mechanisms were inherited.

More than anyone else, Bob was responsible for initiating the dairy genomic research at Beltsville. He led a team that found several genetic markers that were associated with mastitis resistance. His research on mastitis also included an investigation of the effect of intra-mammary devices on milk yield and a quantification of the role of teat canal keratin in mastitis defense. His later research focused on trends in death losses and abortion frequency of dairy cows.

Miller’s sustained research productivity is documented in 131 peer-reviewed scientific articles, 20 conference-proceeding papers, 19 Federal Government technical reports and 142 scientific abstracts. The American Dairy Science Association (ADSA) has plans to induct him into the 100 Club later this month for authorship of more than 100 peer-reviewed articles in the Journal of Dairy Science.

Bob was a member of the ADSA, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Genetic Association and served on the research committee of the National Mastitis Council.

He was consulted by animal scientists worldwide for research planning, analysis, and data interpretation. He also fostered an active cooperative research program with the Department of Animal Science at the University of Maryland.

After retiring from ARS in 1995, Miller continued to contribute to dairy science research as a volunteer at the Animal Improvement Programs Laboratory in Beltsville, MD.

His memorial service will be held at First Presbyterian Church of Howard County on June 18, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his name to www.savethechildren.org.

 


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