O'Rafferty High Senior Class of 1965
Bruce Miller

November 9, 1946 - April 24, 2023

Bruce Miller

Bruce Phillip Miller, aged 76, left this life suddenly and unexpectedly during his daily walk. He was born November 9, 1946 and enjoyed an idyllic childhood roaming the streets of Lansing, MI. He attended St. Mary Cathedral School, O’Rafferty High School, Michigan State University (Bachelor’s), and the University of Michigan (Master’s).

He met his “person,” Sue, in college and they were married in June and November 1970.  They enjoyed 104 anniversaries, remembering most of them. Their two children, Amanda and Tess, were raised in Wacousta, MI and were instilled with a love of the outdoors.

 He enjoyed the bulk of his career as Deputy Director at the Ingham County Health Department. During his second career, he served as Executive Director of Northern Health Plan and TENCON Health Plan, endeavoring to help everyone have access to affordable healthcare. He retired for good in 2019, devoting much of his free time with family, friends, and especially grandkids.

 His pandemic projects included learning to create the perfect cup of coffee and finally getting to write. Compiling years of memory, stories once heard, and actual research, he published his non-fiction book, Once Upon a Time in Lansing: The Benefactors/Marks of Identification in 2021.  Shortly before his death he created an audible version on YouTube.

 He will be remembered as being incredibly funny, intelligent, well-researched on many topics, a helpful unofficial tour guide, and a fantastic storyteller. His non-work endeavors included marathon running, mountain climbing, many trips to Mackinac Island, and showering his grandkids with love and adventures.

 A detailed planner in the event of his passing, he left these words in the hopes they would be used in an obituary:

Grateful for the love and support of my wife, mother, grandmother, aunts and uncles, and in-laws. Proud of my children and the adults they have become.

 He is preceded in death by his mother Mildred ‘Mimi’ Miller, father Wayne Miller, Grandmother Martha Haddad, in-laws Howard and Bessie Keller, and several beloved aunts, uncles, and cousins.

 He is survived by his wife Sue, daughters Amanda (Joel) Wyse and Tess (Scott Harding) Miller, and grandchildren Phoenix Miller and Jasper Wyse.

 A Celebration of Life will be planned for a later date.

 Memorial contributions are suggested to Global Awareness Through Experience (GATE), a charity founded by his sixth-grade teacher, Sister Stephanie. http://www.gate-travel.org/


UPDATE (February 2020)

Hi Classmates -

I snuck out of work early last September & never went back! These days I am abiding in what Tibetan Buddhists call the bardo - metaphorically a place where usual ways of life are suspended. In the bardo every morning is Saturday morning - who knew such a thing was possible! Clearly, this cannot last.

Since the last reunion I've gotten to hang out with a few classmates from the League of Mikes: Cook, Sandborn, Magnotta, Heiler, and "honorary Mikes," Bob Bower, Gene Klco, Jim Roman, Jeanette Smith & even Steve O'Leary who moved away from St Mary's after fifth grade.

In June Sue & I will mark 50 years of connubial bliss (my father in law would always add "with never a harsh word or mean look"). We still live in Grand Ledge, have all our fingers and toes, with our kids and grandkids nearby.

I bump into Adele Verderese at Horrocks & Kroger from time to time and always ask if she is going to Club Crosier this week. She smiles and says "I wish." Yeah, I wish too.

Have fun!


UPDATE (June 2015)

June 6, 2015

Hello fellow time travellers.

Imagine this - we have travelled exactly 50 years into the future from graduation day - from June 6, 1965 to June 6, 2015.

That went kinda fast, didn't it?

Who besides me can quote the prescient words of Mike Mierzwa, Jeanette Smith and Brother Kevin from this very day just fifty years ago?

Just kidding.

I remember it was mighty hot and being soaking wet under my cap and gown despite wearing shorts and a t-shirt.

So where the heck did all of you go once there was no more Club Crozier, after Sully's became Wendy's, after they started selling mattresses out of the Rack & Rail and the Gut became a parking lot? I looked for you at the Lansing Mall but you never showed up.

And now, suddenly, without warning, so many of us have become "Meema" and "Boppa."

You do understand that the name they pick for you is how you'll be known after you're gone.

I am lucky - sort of - they call me Papa.

I feel like I am 17 and they call me Papa.

Oh well….

I'd like to say something poetic like "I miss the way our future was looped out of sight, just over the horizon, waiting ever patiently for us to catch up to it," but what I really miss my thick black hair.

There are sour pusses that say that if you could travel back in time you'd screw things up and kill your grandfather.

My answer to them is this: Why would anyone do a dumb thing like that?

I wish you all the best!


Previous info:

Hi Classmates,

Here are some things I believed when I was at St Mary's:

"If all else fails, you can always get a job at Olds."

"Medical science will eliminate old age and death in our lifetime." Thought this whenever I saw some fossil pushing 50.

"If you promise the poor souls in Purgatory a rosary, they'll wake you up at a time you request." Almost always worked!

"I can give my lunch money for the 'missions' and get it back from pay phone coin returns on walk home." Didn't work that way, but I did eventually get it all back and then some.

"I can have a cold meat sandwich before midnight Friday and not commit a sin." Elementary dear Watson - all you did was declare you were going by Ohio time on Thursday before 11 pm.

"If you're poor, it is not a sin to steal to feed your family." As true today as it was when Sister Stephanie spoke it in 1959 (My theory is she kept Steinbeck hidden in her Daily Missal).

Gotta tell you, as they slip away in full retreat, Catholic School days look positively sublime.

Fast forward....I serve as Executive Director of two County Health Plans. CHPs are non-profits that provide health care coverage for low income uninsured people. The need for County Health Plans will be reduced in 2014 but will not completely go away. The Health Reform Act is a good but imperfect start.

I'm still running and when I get the chance, hiking Mt. Whitney.

Sue is quilting, gardening and spending a day a week taking care of each grandchild.

We are extraordinarily lucky to have our kids nearby.

Not sure I'll make it to the forty fifth - we are scheduled to be someplace else - but you never know.

Either way, best wishes to all of you!