In Remembrance: Robert A. Miller IV ’77 Died on January 8 2021

With great sadness, we relay the news of the passing of Robert Anderson Miller IV (class of 1977) on January 8, 2021, in Walnut Creek, California.

A truly extraordinary man, Rob’s passing marks the conclusion of a lengthy, yet inspirational, chapter in his life, one which ensued in the wake of a catastrophic health event in 2002. A massive stroke yielded quadriplegia and a life thereafter largely spent in a care home. Faced with unconquerable physical limitations, Rob relied upon mental agility and endless optimism to carry him forward in a re-envisioned version of life.  

During his four years at Yale, Rob majored in economics and philosophy. His classmates remember Rob as a brilliant, idiosyncratic free spirit who would have been a perfect fit with the Beat generation—a sort of Dean Moriarty figure.  Rob brought his brilliance to his professional work in economic modeling with Economic Services Corp. in California.

While at Yale, Rob very actively pursued his other main passion: music. A trumpet player with the Yale marching band and the jazz band, Rob took on the guise of jazz guru to his Yale class of 1977 brothers in Davenport, schooling them in all things Maynard Ferguson, Freddie Hubbard, and beyond. 

Rob also spread his wings to involve himself in playing salsa. As “El Bob,” he played lead trumpet with a Dominican band in New York. Rob was always instinctive in his first interactions with people; he loved playing music. El Bob was a natural fit with the salsa band. 

Decades-long friends, including those classmates who visited Rob in Walnut Creek in recent years, have re-echoed remembrances of his irrepressible sense of humor, his great laugh, his spot-on memory for details of days past. His indefatigable thirst for knowledge both historical and present made him an insatiable reader. He was the King of audiobooks. Throughout his life, he continued to enrich his own knowledge of musical styles and repertoire. A lifelong member of Red Sox Nation, he enthusiastically transferred his sport and team loyalty to the NBA’s Golden State Warriors.

Rob, too, was a warrior, truly committed to his family, and caring and kind to those who cared about him. 

His decision to live the best life possible following his severe stroke proved to be the vehicle by which he inspired others to live their best life. With courage, dignity, and humor, he persevered for 18 years in the face of unimaginable adversity. His outlook was forever positive.

The son of Robert Anderson Miller III, Yale class of 1942, Rob was a fourth-generation Yale alumnus. He is survived by his endlessly devoted wife, Kim Miller; sons Tom Miller and Ryan Calbreath; sisters Nancy Houlihan (Falmouth, Maine) and Faith Miller (Marlborough, New Hampshire); and extended family. He is also remembered with warmth and admiration by a large number of college and high school friends, many of whom looked to Rob’s valiant spirit as a source of inspiration for themselves. 

—submitted on behalf of the family.

Post a remembrance