Richard (Dick) Miller
Published: June, 2002
After graduating from THS in 1960, I attended Staten Island Community College for 2 years, getting my AA in pre-engineering in 1962. I went on to City College of New York, switched to a Physics major and Education minor, getting my BS in 1965. I began teaching that September at the new Bernstein JHS as a 7th grade science teacher. In 1966, I transferred back to the old THS in Tottenville, becoming the main Physics teacher under the guidance of George Breidenbach.
In 1968, I spent the summer camping around Europe with my girlfriend and her two brothers, beginning and ending in Amsterdam, with stops in between: Dover, Brighton, London, Stratford, Calais, Paris, the Riviera (Frejus), Lucerne, Salzburg, Munich, Hamburg, Copenhagen, and Stockholm. What a great summer!
I returned to teach at THS one more year before getting a National Science Foundation Academic Year Fellowship to study Science Education at the University of Texas at Austin. I got my M.Ed. there in 1970, and stayed on for another year to do a sixth-year credential in Educational Administration and Supervision.
At that time, I married my first wife, Maureen, and we moved back to Staten Island in 1971, where I returned to teaching Physics at the old THS, then moving to the new school on Luten Ave. I continued teaching Physics and acting as Assistant Science Chairman and school Administrative Assistant until I left in 1978.
In 1978 I moved to the Los Angeles area, taking a job with Hughes Aircraft Company as a Training Engineer, and ended up as Manager of Information Services Training in the Space and Communications Group. While in LA, I earned an MBA from Loyola Marymount University, being the first student to complete the program with a 4.0 GPA. Maureen and I adopted Christina, a girl of Hispanic background, who was nearly 8.
In 1985, Maureen took a job with a Silicon Valley company, and we moved to San Jose, where I worked as a training and documentation consultant, mostly with Apple Computer. In 1987, Maureenís company got bought out by Tektronix, who moved us to Beaverton, Oregon (in the Portland area), where Iíve been ever since.
In 1990, Maureen and I divorced (quite amicably). Weíve both since remarried, and the four of us sometimes get together to play cards and such. In 1992, our daughter Christina married a swell guy named Shawn Vierra, who has a daughter, Ashley. I thus became an instant grandpa, with Shawn and Christina adding a grandson, Bryce, in 1993. Ashley, who lives mostly with her mom near Sacramento, is a star basketball player on her High School team. Bryce, living with mom and dad in Campbell (suburb of San Jose), is one of the top-ranked BMX bicycle racers for his age category in the state.
Also in 1990, Tektronix sold off the company that moved us up here, and I worked at a variety of high-tech documentation and training jobs until settling at Hewlett-Packard, where Iíve been since 1995. My latest job there is kind of hard to describe. The title is ďKnowledge EngineerĒ (impressive, huh?) and the easiest way to describe what I do is as a person who helps work teams capture, store, share, and use unstructured data (meeting minutes, project documents, slide presentations, white papers, email, etc.) to increase shared knowledge and understanding, and to facilitate their work projects. Sounds kind of nebulous (and at times it is), but itís a great way to combine my interests in techno-stuff and people relationships with my lifelong career in helping people to learn and work better.
In 1998, I married Mega McGrew, a licensed Massage Therapist. She has three grown sons, the youngest of whom recently completed Army Boot Camp and is attending telecommunications school in Ft. Gordon, GA. She is the light of my life and my rock in stormy seas.
Iíve been quite active in my various professional societies, serving as an officer at local and national levels in a variety of capacities over the years. Iím currently Assistant Manager of the Usability Special Interest Group of the Society for Technical Communication, and a member of the Advisory Council for the UTEST listserv discussion group based at Clemson University. Iíve published articles in a number of professional journals.
All this professional stuff has taken a sidetrack lately. Iíve been dealing with a variety of health issues for the last few years, including a Brown Recluse spider bite, but mostly related to the diabetes Iíve acquired.
On Thursday, April 12th of this year, my left leg was amputated below the knee, and I came home the following Monday to recuperate. While my mental state is quite good, this is without a doubt the biggest physical challenge I have ever faced, and itís going to take all of my focus and energy to deal with it effectively and efficiently. Probably just as difficult is for an active person like myself to be confined largely to bed for weeks on end.
Any good thoughts or prayers you might have along those lines will be greatly appreciated. Iím currently in a cast while the stitches heal. Iím scheduled to have the cast removed by the time this article is published, the stitches checked, and, if all is well, have a temporary prosthesis applied which will allow me to begin bearing weight. Iíll continue therapy with that rig until I can bear full weight (which will allow me to go back to work, tentatively scheduled for July), eventually getting a permanent prosthesis sometime this fall. Iíve really got my work cut out for me, so I have a feeling that my outside interests are going to fall by the wayside for a while.
Except, of course, for my music. I play trombone in a Dixieland group (and do a bit of singing, as well). I also play tuba, guitar, and bass from time to time and enjoy jamming with friends and playing small festivals every so often. The music is quite therapeutic, so Iím sure that will continue.
I think that this is a great feature for our web site, and I hope many of you who read this will contact Werner with your own stories to share with all of us.
If you would like to send any comments to Dick, please click here: Dick Miller