Obituary for Rudolph John Miller
Rudolph (Rudy) Miller, 83, passed away December 10, 2017. Please take a moment of silence to remember and honor him. He was a good husband, father, and provider, a man of great talent and intelligence with a wonderful sense of humor.
Rudy was born in Gbely, Czchoslovakia, now Slovakia. He came to this country with his mother, Josephene Brunofski wife of James Miller, as young child and grew up in and around Rochester, New York, where he learned to love the outdoors and learned how to draw and paint. He got a bachelor's degree from Cornell University and a master's from Tulane University studying fish behavior. Just before going to Tulane he met and married Helen Carter. Later he and Helen returned to Cornell where they both got PhDs. His work on fish behavior earned him a post-doctoral year studying with… at the time… one of the premier ethologists in the world, Gerard Baerends, in Groningen in the Netherlands.
Applying for jobs from there, Oklahoma State University was the only place willing to give him a temporary position without an interview. He came to Stillwater in 1962. He liked the faculty and stayed on to teach ethology…the study of animal behavior…vertebrate natural history, and ichthyology until he retired in 1990. During those years he had eight to ten graduate students every year, published about 100 papers on his research on fish behavior, served as department chairman for some years, and with one of his graduate students wrote and published two editions of the book, The Fishes of Oklahoma. The second edition was illustrated with 65 of Rudy’s paintings of Oklahoma fishes. The originals of these beautiful paintings were on display for several months at the Oklahoma Museum of Art in Oklahoma City and eventually given to OSU where they are rotated for display in the library and several offices.
Rudy was always an artist, but began to make art a second career when he entered the first Oklahoma duck stamp contest and came in second. During the next years he spent more and more time painting until he retired to make art a full time career. He painted wildlife and landscapes. His home became a gallery with more than 130 of his paintings on display. For many years he had galleries selling his work in Jackson, Wyoming; Dallas, Vermont, Maryland, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Chicago, and Multi- Arts in Stillwater, where he taught painting for many years.
Rudy especially loved dogs, horses, classical and popular music, and travel. After retiring he visited many of the most scenic places in this country and these inspired many of his paintings.
He is survived by his wife, Helen, whom he married in 1957; three children and their spouses: Mark and Brenda, Mike and Hideko, Leslie and Kate Coffee; grandchildren, Mat Miller, and Jennifer Dunn and her husband, Kevin; two great grand children, Sydni and Cameron Dunn.
Details of a celebration of Rudy’s life will be forthcoming.
In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the Nature Conservancy.
Condolences may be emailed to the family and an online obituary may be viewed by visiting www.strodefh.com