Charles Miller often expressed how much music enriched his life, and we know he would be proud and pleased to help provide others the same opportunity for enrichment of their lives by supporting The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation. Further information about Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation can be found by clicking Nonprofit above.
Charles G. Miller, Professor Emeritus of Microbiology and founding Director of the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), passed away of a heart attack early Sunday morning, April 15, in his home. A gifted and dedicated educator, research scientist, and mentor, Dr. Miller was recruited to the University of Illinois in 1990 from his position as Professor of Microbiology in the College of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University to become Professor of Microbiology and Head of the UIUC Microbiology Department. From 1997 to 2007, Dr. Miller served as Associate Director of the School of Life Sciences then as the founding Director of the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology. Dr. Miller retired from the faculty of the UIUC in early 2012.
Dr. Miller’s research focused on mechanisms and pathways by which proteins in cells are degraded and the nature and regulation of peptidases, the enzymes involved in protein degradation. Dr. Miller’s lasting contribution to the UIUC was his recognition of the need to reorganize and strengthen the biological science curriculum to prepare graduates for today’s world. He provided the vision and then leadership that led to the formation of the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology as well as the establishment of UIUC’s Institute for Genomic Biology.
Charles Miller was born in 1940 in Greensburg, Indiana, to Charles Ira, a farmer, and Freida Mae Martin Miller, a teacher. After his father’s death, Dr. Miller was active in the management of the family farm. Dr. Miller was an ardent and accomplished musician who began his university studies at the Indiana University School of Music as a trombone major. Switching to arts and sciences in his junior year, Dr. Miller graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Indiana with a degree in chemistry in 1963. He completed his PhD in biochemistry at Northwestern University in 1968 and spent two years as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley.
Dr. Miller was married to Judy Lynch of Park Ridge, Illinois, who worked in biological research and later as a genetic counselor. He is survived by his wife; by a daughter and son-in-law, Julia Miller and Sven Haynie of Solana Beach, California; by a son and daughter-in-law, Andrew and Sandrine Miller of Del Mar, California; by his sister and brother-in-law, Eudora and David Tharp of Claremont, California; by three grandsons, Benjamin and Donovan Haynie and Charles L. Miller; and by nephews Reynold Tharp (who is on the faculty of the School of Music at UIUC) and Martin Tharp. Dr. Miller was preceded in death by his daughter Louisa.
Dr. Miller’s engagement with music was passionate, life-long and active. He continued his trombone playing in amateur orchestras long after he had become established in his academic career. He was an enthusiastic concertgoer and collector of recordings, and he continued throughout his life the piano playing he had begun in his youth. If there was anything Dr. Miller was more passionate about than music, it was his love for his family and especially for his three grandsons.
In lieu of flowers, his family has asked that donations be made in Charles Miller’s name to The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, which fosters music education by donating musical instruments to under-funded music programs. Donations may be made online by clicking on the Give Now button on this webpage. To donate by check, please send your check or money order to: The Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation, 4370 Tujunga Ave., Ste 330, Studio City, CA 91604. Donations to the Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation are 100% tax deductible as a charitable contribution.