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60th Anniversary: Keith and Jo Ann Miller

L. Keith Miller and Jo Ann Johnson Miller will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary June 12.

Married at Sand Point Naval Air Station in Seattle, they had a reception at the Sand Point Naval Officers’ Club where Keith (a Nevada desert rat, Tonapah) and Jo Ann (a Navy junior, Miami) cut their cake with her father’s U.S. Navy sword. Jo Ann’s sister, Margaret (Peggy) Adams, served as matron of honor, and Keith’s friend, Kjell Johansen, served as best man. They honeymooned in Olympic National Park.

Jo Ann had come from the District of Columbia for a blind date with Keith, arranged by her sister Peggy.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree in zoology and a master’s in zoology and physiology at the University of Nevada-Reno, Keith was a Ph.D. student at the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, and Jo Ann was a secretary at the Department of Oceanography at the University of Washington.

Shortly after their honeymoon, they flew to Anchorage, Alaska, where Keith and Jo Ann began their careers with the Arctic Health Research Center, U.S. Public Health Service. Two years later, they moved to Fairbanks for the Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska-Fairbanks. Keith completed his doctorate in zoophysiology there in 1966 and joined the faculty of the institute.

In 1968, he was a member of the scientist complement on research vessel Alpha Helix following the U.S. Coast Guard ice breaker Northwind to investigate the use of a stable laboratory in the ice pack. In 1972, he served as chief scientist for the RV Alpha Helix expedition to investigate Beluga whale physiology. He took a sabbatical at the Institute of Low Temperature Science in Hokkaido, Japan, in 1977.

Parenting Reed, Darcy and Wendy, the Millers spent years fishing, camping, boating, hunting, dog-mushing, skiing, gardening, hiking, Girl and Boy Scouting, and generally enjoying whatever Alaska had to offer.

In addition to holding down their log home when Keith was off being a scientist, Jo Ann worked at the Fairbanks university and the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. She was employed for 15 years as an accounting technician at the Fairbanks North Star Borough. She served as president of the Fairbanks Secretary’s Association. She also was the president of the Farthest North Girl Scout Council for nine years and was selected as one of the recipients of the First Lady’s Volunteer Awards in 1994 by Ermalee Hickel.

After 39 years of Alaskan adventures, Keith and Jo Ann retired to Central Point, where they continue to live; Keith as an active member of the Middle Rogue Steelheaders, and Jo Ann as an active member of the Jacksonville Garden Club.

Because of “COVID-19 hair,” Jo Ann and Keith preferred not to show a current photo.

The Millers at Skilak Lake in Alaska in 1961.