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December 2013

We are saddened to tell you that Eric Miller passed away on Saturday morning, December 14 in the arms of his wife and encircled by his family and friends. Known as “Rocky” in homage to one of his favorite movies, the nickname also alluded to his perseverance and determination. Diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy as a child, Eric went on to confound the prognosis of experts for nearly fifty years. Despite his physical challenges, Eric’s personality and life were not defined by his wheelchair. When told that his disability would require special schooling and facilities, his family fought for his equal treatment and inclusion. With a dedicated – and sometimes ridiculous – band of friends, Eric went on to lead both a normal and exceptional life that was an inspiration to many people. In school, Eric was a central figure, with friends in every facet of school culture from jocks to nerds; his home becoming a gathering place for a motley crew, hosted by his bemused parents. In his working life at Online Resources/ACI, Eric made even more friends, whom he truly cherished. In 2001, Eric married Shauna, with whom his life expanded to include even more experiences such as international travel. Eric became a role model and mentor to his nephew Tanner. With good advice and valuable counsel, he provided a loving presence that will be sorely missed. With an insatiably curious nature, Eric was interested in astronomy, music, science, movies, sci-fi, progressive politics, social justice, civil liberties, and harbored an unhealthy obsession with the Baltimore Orioles. His vast storehouse of knowledge was relied upon by all and sundry, and was tapped by several websites for which he wrote reviews of movies and television. Eric earned his Master’s Degree in American History at George Mason University, and was ABD in American History at American University. Eric recently attained yet another of his lifetime goals, becoming an Adjunct Professor of American History at Northern Virginia Community College. While Muscular Dystrophy challenged him all his life, he was diagnosed with aggressive brain tumors in October 2013. Despite rapid palliative therapy, the invasive cancer claimed his life. True to his passion for science and education, Eric will continue to teach through his bequest for medical research. It has been estimated that his generosity has the potential to save thousands of lives. In lieu of flowers, donations in Eric’s name may be made to The Planetary Society, the American Brain Tumor Association, or the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Plans for a celebration of Eric’s life will be forthcoming.

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