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Dr. Leona Vivien Crook Miller

Dr.  Leona Vivien Crook Miller Obituary
Dr. Leona Vivien Crook Miller, 89, was a determined woman her whole life. She decided what she wanted, set her sights on it and just never let go. Leona was raised a poor child in New York by a single mother. She married young and then divorced and as a single parent herself worked diligently to earn a BA from Columbia University (1956), and then an MD from USC (1960). She became Chief Medical Resident at LA County USC in 1962. Leona was an accomplished physician specializing in internal medicine first at USC County Medical Center then later in private practice at Saint Vincent's Hospital in Los Angeles. She was the Chief of the Diabetes Services at USC County Medical Center and also held the position of Associate Professor at University of Southern California Medical School. While at Saint Vincent's, she also held the position of the Chief of Internal Medicine and later was the Director of the Diabetes Center and Research Institute. Throughout her impressive career, Leona presented over 60 articles and research papers published in major medical journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine. She garnered numerous awards for work in the clinical field, research and as a teacher. She was voted Outstanding Clinical Teacher from her students at USC eight times. She received the National Upjohn Award for Outstanding Medical Educator. She was awarded the Outstanding Alumni Award from USC School of Medicine, the Outstanding Medical Service Award from the City of Los Angeles and the Outstanding Physician Award from the State of California. Leona was awarded Outstanding Diabetologist by her peers, the US Medical School University Professors. Leona was also awarded the Woman of Valor Award from the American Diabetes Association and for which received a personal note from Hillary Clinton. She held numerous consultant-ships nationally and worldwide and oversaw the establishment of a Medical Residency Training Program in Lima, Peru for the Peruvian government. She coordinated diabetic education for the World Health Centers in Moscow, Lithuania and Budapest, to name a few. She travelled extensively and lectured worldwide and participated in numerous pharmaceutical and device clinical trials with an eye toward curing diabetes. Leona's numerous medical society memberships and positions included terms as President of the Los Angeles Society of Internal Medicine, President of the Society of Graduate Internists and President of the Southern California American Diabetes Association. She held many titles at the American Diabetes Association and served on its Board of Directors for many years. She also spoke Spanish (a bit) and was a member of the Royal Society of Medicine. After an impressive career in Los Angeles, she moved with her husband, Dr. Alexander Miller (a bio-chemist and researcher), back to New York and resumed her studies at Columbia School of Medicine. And then finally, about a week before she suffered a major stroke in her mid-70's, she earned a Masters in Public Health from Columbia. When her husband of 40 plus years died, Dr. Leona Miller moved back to California and lived out the rest of her life in La Jolla near family. Throughout her career she saved lives and was dedicated to practical research that made life a lot better for people with Diabetes. She took care of people - thousands of people. Some were family, many were not. She was beyond generous. She loved opera, modern art and bad British comedies on PBS. She marched for the farmworkers and against the Vietnam War. She was a staunch Democrat, loved Clinton and Obama, and volunteered for McGovern. She was not sentimental, spiritual or religious, but she loved and was proud of all her kids and every grandchild. In the end cancer grabbed hold of her and wouldn't let go. She knew her health had declined rapidly and knowing what would happen in the weeks ahead, she willed herself out of this world, on her own terms. Determined to the end. Leona Miller would like to be remembered for her contributions to medicine, her hard work and dedication, and her generosity. She made a difference. Leona is survived by her three children, their spouses and seven grandchildren: Bill, Cathie, Kyle & Kevin Canepa; Lori, Carl, Erin, Roderick & Lachlan Middlehurst; Randall Miller & Jody Savin and their children Jesse & Maya Miller. In lieu of flowers the family has asked that donations be made to the American Diabetes Association in her name.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Nov. 17, 2013
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