Mary Ellen Miller’s funeral arrangements announced

English Professor Mary Ellen Miller has been with WKU for 54 years and is now in transitional retirement. She is continuing to teach but is using her newly found free time to write a book of poetry. Miller said she intends to continue teaching as long as she can or “as long as they’ll have me.” 

Nicole Ziege

The funeral service arrangements for WKU’s longest-serving professor, Mary Ellen Miller, have been announced.

According to Ruth Miller, Miller’s daughter, an open visitation will start at noon on Friday, June 22, followed by a funeral service at 2 p.m. Both will take place at the J.C. Kirby & Son Lovers Lane Chapel.

Miller, 83, WKU’s oldest professor and former University Poet Laureate, died on June 9, after a fall two weeks prior. She served the university for 54 years.

Robert Hale, head of WKU’s English department, said Miller had a fall earlier in the year and a second fall about two weeks prior to her passing. She was recovering at Greenwood Rehabilitation Center.

“Professor Miller had an unparalleled, fifty-four-year career at WKU and transformed thousands of students’ lives through her intelligence, wisdom, and encouragement,” Hale said in an email. “She was an amazing teacher, an excellent poet, and a champion of the arts. I’ve never met a person with so many close friends from so many walks of life.

“She loved deeply and was deeply loved.”

Larry Snyder, dean of the Potter College of Arts and Letters, said Miller’s passing leaves a “big hole in the collective heart” of Potter College and WKU.

She was a singular presence who had a lasting impact on the lives of her students and colleagues across four decades,” Snyder said in an email. “This has come as quite a shock to us all.  Mary Ellen will be missed in ways big and small.”

Memorial gifts may be made to the Mary Ellen and Jim Wayne Miller Celebration of Writing Fund in the WKU Foundation at WKU, according to Ruth Miller.

Nicole Ziege can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected] Follow Nicole Ziege on Twitter at @NicoleZiege.