Cover photo for David Edmond Miller, M.D.'s Obituary
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1930 David 2020

David Edmond Miller, M.D.

June 6, 1930 — April 15, 2020

David Edmond Miller, M.D., of Durham, North Carolina, died at Duke University Hospital on April 15, 2020 at the age of 89. He was born in Biscoe, North Carolina, on June 6, 1930, to Rev. James Herbert Miller and Elsie McGlaughon Miller. A retired cardiologist, Dr. Miller was a revered figure in Durham’s medical community and equally beloved among Duke sports fans, having attended nearly every home football and basketball game for 70 years until sidelined by illness in 2018.

Dr. Miller grew up in a succession of North Carolina towns including Whiteville, Hookerton, Morehead City (where he attained the rank of Eagle Scout in 1944 and looked out for shipwrecks and German submarines during World War II), and Elizabeth City. He was valedictorian of his class at Elizabeth City High School (1948). He played trombone in the marching band at ECHS and at Duke University, where he also sang in the Men’s Glee Club and participated in its radio broadcasts from New York City with Perry Como. He received his A.B. in Chemistry (1952) and M.D. (1956) from Duke, and stayed on to complete his internship, residency, and research fellowship at Duke (1956-61). On June 4, 1960 he married Marjorie Willard Penton of Wilmington, NC; she predeceased him in 2011.

From 1961 to 1963 he served in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps at Portsmouth, Virginia, where his two children were born. He was one of a half-dozen select physicians tasked with the responsibility of running the entire Naval Hospital when most of the staff shipped out during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962, and he facilitated the transfer of patients from Guantanamo at that time. He was discharged with the rank of lieutenant commander.

Upon returning to Durham, Dr. Miller took a staff appointment at Watts Hospital in 1964 and entered private practice, while simultaneously serving at Duke as an associate in internal medicine and cardiology (1963-79) and clinical assistant professor of medicine and cardiology (1979-91). He also taught in Duke’s Physician Assistant progam established by his mentor, Dr. Eugene Stead.

Dr. Miller was the last chief of medicine at Watts Hospital (1975-76) and the first chairman of the department of internal medicine at Durham County General Hospital (1976-82), now Duke Regional Hospital. He oversaw the transfer of patients from Watts to County General when the new hospital opened in 1976. In 1980-81 Dr. Miller served as president of the hospital’s medical staff. He retired from active practice in cardiology and internal medicine in 2000, four years after the established practice of Drs. Miller, Buchanan, and Abernathy merged with several other doctors to form Triangle Heart Associates, now part of Duke Health.

From 1982 to 1995, Dr. Miller travelled widely to such places as the Soviet Union, Hong Kong, China, England, Scotland, the Greek Islands, Israel, Egypt, Kenya, and most of continental Europe. In all those places, as well as from Alaska to Maine, he indulged his love of photography, taking thousands of pictures with his trusty 35mm camera.

Dr. Miller contributed articles to professional journals early in his career. He was a Fellow in the American College of Physicians (1968), the American College of Cardiology (1972), the Royal Society of Medicine (United Kingdom), and the Royal Society of Health (United Kingdom). He was a member or past member of the American Medical Association, American Society of Internal Medicine, American Federation for Clinical Research, Southern Medical Association, North Carolina Medical Society, North Carolina Society of Internal Medicine (executive council 1984-92), Durham-Orange County Medical Society, and Hope Valley Country Club. In his retirement he served for five years on the board of the Central North Carolina Chapter of the American Red Cross, and served as an advisory member to Senior Health Support of the Triangle for the entirety of its existence (2010-17). He was an active member of the Durham Sports Club, Blue Devil Club, Iron Dukes, Davison Club (Duke medical alumni), and Trinity United Methodist Church.

Dr. Miller is survived by his daughter, Marjorie Dale Miller of Durham; his son, Edmond Miller, Jr. of Orange County, NC; his brothers, Rev. James Herbert Miller, Jr. of Kinston, NC, and Kenneth McGlaughon Miller of Danville, Virginia; and his granddaughter, Meredith Rose Shanoski of Paris, France.

The family wishes to express appreciation for Dr. Miller’s outstanding colleagues over the years: the late Dr. Paul Seavey, the late Dr. Peter Gebel, Dr. Robert “Buck” Buchanan, Dr. Bill Abernathy, and Dr. Liz Henke; for his loyal Physician Assistants, Bill Smith and Dianne Wilson; for his devoted office staff and nurses including the late Peggy Cottle, the late Niwana Bryant, Marty Thacker, and Sandy Odom; and for his close friends, Tom Eamon and the late Norwood Thomas, Jr.

A private interment will be in Maplewood Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Duke Heart Center, c/o Alumni & Development Records, Duke University, PO Box 90581, Durham, NC 27708 (919-684-2338),

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