Dr. Eldon Lynn Miller
Published 9:57 am Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Eldon Lynn Miller died September 7, 2017 in Oxford, Mississippi. Eldon was born October 31, 1940 in Fruita, Colorado to June Babcock Miller and Ernest Miller. He attended Fruita High School and graduated in 1958. Upon graduating, he was offered several baseball and football scholarships, including a scholarship to play quarterback at BYU, but baseball was his passion. He elected to attend Mesa State College in Grand Junction, Colorado, where he played as a catcher. As a sophomore, he was named to the NJCAA Baseball All-American first team. During the National Junior College Championship, he batted .600 and was voted the most likely to succeed in the major leagues.
Eldon was offered a contract with the Arizona Cardinals after a tryout and offered a scholarship to play baseball for the University of Alabama. He accepted the scholarship to the University of Alabama, where he played as a catcher for the Crimson Tide during 1959 and 1960. He was once again an All-American. Eldon graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Math in 1962. He signed a contract to play professional baseball with the Cleveland Indians triple-A team in Selma, Alabama. He played with Lou Piniella, and many other baseball greats. He was invited to spring training with the Indians’ major league team but decided to further pursue his education after being diagnosed with type I diabetes.
Eldon returned to the University of Alabama and earned his Ph.D. in Mathematics in 1968. After receiving his Ph.D., he accepted a faculty position at the University of Mississippi as a mathematics professor. He was a teacher in the Ole Miss Math Department for over 35 years. He loved mentoring his students and was chosen to be Humanities professor of the year in 1990. He served as Chairman of the math department on 3 occasions but always refused to accept the position permanently, as he loved his free time as well.
While teaching at the university, Eldon actively participated with events in the Oxford community and the university. He played semi-pro baseball with the Oxford A’s, coached baseball in the Oxford parks system, served as the president of the PTA, acted in plays with the community theater, and played on a variety of intramural sports teams at the university. He also made time to be active in the lives of his 5 children.
While playing on one of his favorite intramural teams, the Sybarites, a teammate asked Eldon to take in his two Labrador Retrievers. This was the beginning of a new chapter for Eldon, who became enthusiastic about training and breeding Labrador Retrievers. He often was accompanied by his 8 dogs on his trips around town and campus. Every morning (except Sunday) he ate breakfast at The Beacon, and he often brought the dogs with him! They would sit in the back of his SUV with the tailgate open, and everyone who passed stopped to visit with them. They never got out of the SUV, waiting instead for Eldon to come out and feed them each a bite of biscuit.
Eldon was preceded in death by his wife, Kitty Hubbard Miller, and his parents. He is survived by his five children: Gary Eldon Miller (Karen) of Eads, TN, James Douglas Miller of Mobile, AL, Tamela Ann Miller of Boise, ID, Tonya Miller Dalton (Jason) of Eutaw, AL, and Bradley Curtis Miller, of Last Chance, ID, and 11 grandchildren.
There will be a memorial service at Coleman Funeral Home in Oxford on September 23, 2017; visitation will start at 9 a.m. and funeral service at 10:30 a.m. His remains will be interred with Kitty Hubbard Miller in Pontotoc, Mississippi.
In lieu of flowers, please send a donation in Eldon’s name to Juvenile Diabetes Research Funding and Advocacy at JDRF.org.