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Leo S. Miller

With Reflections by Alberta Miller

Edited by Gene Shelburne

Cover design by Thomas Williams



Proceeds from the sales of this book
benefit the University of Indianapolis.


Read the Preface below:

Leo Miller must have been born laughing. Knowing him and spending time around him was always so much fun. With his unique sense of humor, he invariably saw the hilarious side of virtually any situation. To be with Leo was to laugh. A lot.

Largely because of this tendency to chuckle when others were frowning, Leo wrote two books and began this third one in his final years. Intending the books primarily as entertainment for his own family and his close friends, he set about in the first one to recount humorous anecdotes out of his own childhood in rural Iowa and then, in the second book, to recall amusing tales of his 60-plus years of service as a lay preacher in a band of congregations in southern Indiana and the surrounding area.

Having found a receptive audience for his first two volumes, Leo set about to write a third series of mainly comic reflections on his years as a professor and later as an administrator in the school that has come to be known and respected as the University of Indianapolis. As in his first two books, his main aim in his essays was to chuckle one more time as he shared memories of people and events during his colorful tenure at the school.

In his last few months, Leo began mailing me copies of these essays, wanting me to reassure him that what he had written would not come across as disrespect or disdain for any of the characters in the tales. So I had seen most of these brief pieces before Leo’s sudden illness and death. Shortly after his funeral, his dear wife Alberta asked me if I would assume an editorial role on this final book, and, loving both them as I do, I could only say Yes to her request.

The result, as you will see, is not at all the book Leo planned to write. It does include his delightful essays, as you would expect, but it pays tribute to him in a way that would have made his modest soul uncomfortable. And in a small way it recaps the history of his 34 years at U of I, a time when the school was morphing from a tiny, almost unknown institution lost on the fringes of the city into an educational center that touches all levels of leadership in the city and the state. As this book will document, Leo Miller had a lot to do with helping to re-invent the school in its present mature role.

As added spice to Leo’s brief essays, we have included reflections from Alberta, so it would be accurate to list her as a co-author of this volume. Several months ago she wrote me saying, “I have been thinking a lot about Leo’s third book and wondering if I have anything worthwhile to put into it. When I can’t sleep at night, I get up and write down things that might go into the book. Then I go back through the files and wonder anew if what I have written has any value.” I think you will agree with me that her reflections add a valuable dimension to the finished work. “In this volume about our university years,” she explains, “I have jotted down rough drafts of stories that highlight certain people and events that were most meaningful during that span of years.”

At Alberta’s request, the book also contains a tribute to Leo from former student and generous school donor Don Ray, now retired in Florida. Alberta also insisted that I include the eulogy I offered to Leo at his funeral service.

Those who have known both Leo and the school may find that the choice photos sprinkled throughout the book communicate the strongest message of all.  We hope this volume will be a meaningful keepsake for those whose dreams and dollars are invested in the University of Indianapolis.

We owe special gratitude to Dr. Gene E. Sease, former U of I president and Leo’s boss in his last years of employment, for his aid in finding some of the best photos and in helping us clean up some minor inaccuracies that had crept into the manuscript.

Peter Noot, Director of Publications at U of I, and university archivist Christine H. Guyonneau responded quickly and graciously to our search for some of the most historic photographs, and Alberta’s present neighbor Wes Charpie readily contributed his expertise and his quality equipment both to take some of the more current pictures and to scan special ones out of the Millers’ archives. Don Cushman, on staff at Indiana Central before his next life as a park ranger, graciously allowed us to use his portrait photo of Leo on the cover of the book.

Allen Ketchersid, a mutual friend of the Millers and me, and owner of Ketch Publishing in Bloomington, Indiana, assisted greatly in the final assembly of the book. Another mutual friend, professional book cover producer Tom Williams contributed his expert services in designing the exquisite book cover.

My personal thanks to all who helped on this labor of love.


Gene Shelburne, Editor

Amarillo, Texas

January 30, 2007


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