Dr. Marilyn E. Miller of Milwaukee died on January 15, 2018, at 93. She was born in Canton, Ohio, to Evelyn (nee Voss) and Willard J. Miller.
During WW II, she worked in defense industry manufacturing and as a bus driver for Canton City Lines. After the war, when women were removed from these positions to make room for returning soldiers, she wrote an impassioned letter to the governor of Ohio on behalf of the right of women to work and maintain the jobs that had kept the country going during the war, thus marking an early foray into the fight for women’s equality.
She was a “non-traditional” student before that term was coined, at Kent State University (B.S. 1949, and M.A. 1951) and subsequently Indiana University, where she earned her Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology (1957). She then accepted a faculty position at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, beginning what would be 42-year career, first in the Department of Psychology, and later, for more than a decade, as Secretary of the University, a key position serving as the primary liaison between campus administration and faculty.
During her years at UWM, she was a highly regarded professor specializing in statistics, measurement and experimental design. She earned many awards and accolades as a memorable teacher and mentor to countless students, and was considered one of UWM’s “Founding Mothers” — those first, few pioneering women who made their voices heard in speaking up for equity in what was then an almost exclusively male club. Throughout her long career, she was an unwavering champion of academic and intellectual freedom, and staunch defender of faculty governance.
She was wry, witty, and always ready with an appropriate quip, a woman whose sometimes gruff exterior cloaked a warm heart and unfailingly generous spirit. An avid reader, opera and theatre fan, she was also an adventurous traveler well into her eighties.
She is survived by her beloved spouse and partner of 61 years, Leone Lewensohn. Also by members of the Lewensohn and Voss families, and by many dear friends, neighbors, former colleagues and students. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the UWM Foundation – givetouwm.uwmfdn.org – to support student scholarships.
A celebration of her life will take place at a later date.