Biography Dr. Robert Dan Miller, Sr.

July 8, 1906 – January 31, 1968


Robert Dan Miller, Sr. was the quintessential renaissance man who excelled in medicine, athletics, music, and service to community.


Miller was born in Helena, Arkansas to Reverend Abraham Hugo and Eliza Ann Ross Miller on July 8, 1906, the youngest of five children.  He was a member of Centennial Baptist Church where he was baptized by Reverend Dr.  E.C. Morris.    At a young age, he was taught the principles of sacrifice and service that guided him throughout his life.


Miller attended Peabody Elementary School in Helena until the Elaine Massacre of 1919, after which he attended Cushing Academy in Massachusetts.  He graduated from Boston English High School, where he was a standout in athletics and music, as well as in the classroom.


After high school, Miller enrolled at Union University, where he earned All American honors in 1923 as a right guard on the football team.  After his freshman year, he transferred to Howard University, where he was a football All American in 1924, 25, and 26.  He was also a hammer thrower and shot putter on Howard’s track team.  Following graduation, Miller served as Howard’s assistant football coach.


Miller attended Meharry Medical College.  To help  pay for medical school, he served as Fisk University’s assistant football coach and played “gigs” with his friend, William James Basie, who was commonly referred to as the Count.  His close friendship with Basie continued for the remainder of his life;  even after graduating from Meharry in 1933, he was often called on-stage to join the band.


After graduating from Meharry, Dr. Miller practiced in Helena and Mound Bayou, Mississippi.  Although he was denied privileges at Helena Hospital, he built a thriving practice; caring for patients throughout the Mississippi Delta without regard to his patients’ ability to pay.  He was also the physician for the Jamaican Olympic team in the 1952 summer Olympics in Helsinki, Finland, and for competitions in Ireland, Denmark, Belgium, France, and Germany.


Dr. Miller was married to Doris Cox-Miller, with whom he had four children: Maxine, Doris, Robert, and George Granville.  Robert, Jr. joined his practice in 1965.  After 35 years of service, Dr. Robert Dan Miller, Sr. died at home on the morning of January 31, 1968.



Biography furnished by the family of Dr. Robert Dan Miller, Sr.


March, 2020