Northcrest Community

Lotus Simon Miller

Lotus Simon Miller

Lotus Simon Miller of Ames died Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, at Heartwood House in Northcrest Community.

A Celebration of Life memorial service will be held sometime in spring 2022. Her kind and pleasant nature made her beloved by many.

Lotus was born on August 13, 1924, in Portland, Oregon, the daughter of Leo Felix Simon and Johanna Maria Louisa Augusta Wilhelmina Fredericka Theresa George. Her sister Mitzi was 7 years older. She graduated from Reed College in Portland with a B.A. degree as a member of Phi Beta Kappa and president of her senior class in 1946. Her Senior Thesis was "Zonation of Intertidal Animals of Boiler Bay, Oregon" (she chose this topic to become more knowledgeable than her father in at least one area of natural history). At the University of Wisconsin in Madison, she attended the last class of Aldo Leopold, was inducted into Sigma Xi, and earned a Master of Science in Zoology. During her Ph.D. work, the New York Times ran her photo on its front page as part of an article describing her work using radioactivity (some of the first in this area) to track meadow voles.

On August 23, 1952, she married Wilmer Jay Miller. They moved to Woodland, California, where Wilmer worked in a cattle blood typing lab at UC Davis and in 1962 they moved to Ames, Iowa, where Wilmer became a professor in the Iowa State University Department of Genetics.
Lotus, Wilmer, and their two sons Douglas and Alan all spent a year during 1978-1979 in the city of Jaboticabal in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil, where Wilmer set up a blood typing lab. Lotus and Wilmer returned to Brazil for 3 more years in the 1990s in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais. They greatly enjoyed making new friends and experiencing the natural history of the region.

The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Ames awarded Lotus a lifetime membership in recognition of her contributions and volunteer efforts, particularly in connecting children and grown-ups to the natural world. Lotus was co-founder and president of the Ames Conservation Council. She was also active in the League of Women Voters, Friends of Foreign Wives, the Ames Rock and Mineral Club, was a chairman of the Nature Study Division of the Faculty Women's Club, and a charter member and later president of the Ames affiliate of the National Audubon Society (now a chapter, Big Bluestem Audubon Society). Saving the Ames High School Prairie for education, research and recreation was one of the successes in which she played a major role. She also worked extensively on the campaigns to prevent flooding of the Skunk River Valley and The Ledges State Park.

Survivors include two sons Douglas Miller of Ames, Iowa, and Alan Miller of Covington, Washington, and his four children Aliana, Brice, Caewithe, and Dorothy.

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