September 29, 1919 – June 20, 2009
By the time Dr. George Emmerson Miller arrived in Calgary in 1945, he had already received his B.Sc. and MD degrees from the University of Alberta and served as a Captain in the Canadian Medical Corps during World War II. After a period away at the Mayo Clinic he specialized in cardio-thoracic surgery and attended the University of Minnesota obtaining his M.Sc. in surgery, Dr. Miller returned to Calgary in 1956 as the city’s first cardio-thoracic surgeon. Leading the Holy Cross Hospital’s cardiac surgical team, he conducted the first open heart by-pass surgical procedure in the city on October 17 1962. After a long and successful career as a hard-working, skilled and gifted surgeon, a pioneer, leader, and a Professor Emeritus at the University of Calgary, Dr. Miller retired in 1993, but continued to provide volunteer cardiac counseling at the Kerby Centre. In 2002, the City of Calgary honoured this humble, dedicated, kind healer with the Grant MacEwan Lifetime Achievement Award. This award recognized George Miller’s devotion to improving the quality of life of his patients and his significant contributions to his community. Throughout his life he always believed and taught others that: “The patient is number one – the patient is the most important person in the room.”
During an interview with Barbara Kermode-Scott on February 6 2009, for the History of the Cardiovascular Sciences in Southern Alberta project, Dr. Miller shared the following:
“We have come a long, long way since 1957. It has never been dull and there has been some hard slogging against formidable odds. The constant support and faith of Administration helped us achieve excellence… The cardiovascular group at the Holy Cross worked hard for many years…. I can tell you honestly though that I never felt stressed. I never felt tired… I loved it day and night, anytime.”
Calgary will miss you Dr. Miller.
Our condolences to George’s wife, Marilyn, to his children, grand-children and all his other family members.