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Columbia Missourian

MU Mechanical Aerospace Engineering faculty member remembered for his intellect

By Jamie Hergenrader
January 20, 2012 | 5:30 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — John Bruce Miles’ accomplishments reveal his passion for academics, but those who had the pleasure of knowing Dr. Miles remember him for his sincere generosity and dedication to helping others.  

Dr. Miles died on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012, at Boone Hospital Center. He was 78.


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He was born Feb. 2, 1933, in St. Louis to Aaron Jefferson and AnnaBelle John Miles. He married Beverly Bartlett on Feb. 8, 1955 in Rolla.

After graduating valedictorian of his classes at Rolla High School and Missouri School of Mines, or Missouri University of Science and Technology, Dr. Miles went on to earn a masters degree and a doctorate in mechanical engineering. He joined the faculty of the Mechanical Aerospace Engineering Department at MU where he pursued research that continued for the rest of his life.

“He was the smartest guy I know,” his friend David Wollersheim said. “John Miles was brilliant.”

Wollersheim knew Miles for 50 years. The two met in graduate school, and Dr. Miles encouraged Wollersheim to take an interview at MU, where they both became professors.

Wollersheim especially remembers Miles for being financially astute. He was always willing to share his knowledge with others, whether helping them plan their careers or teaching them the difference between stocks and bonds — he taught seminars about financial subjects.

He is survived by his wife, Beverly Bartlett, of Columbia; a son, John D. Miles and wife, Heidi, of Columbia; a daughter, Andrea Miles of St. Louis; a sister, Mary Ann Wundrack of St. Louis; seven grandchildren and a cousin, Kay Boyce of St. Louis.

His sister, Ruth Pauline Miles, died earlier.

Visitation will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday at Woodcrest Chapel, 2201 W. Nifong Blvd. The service will be at 2 p.m. on Monday at the same location. Burial will follow at Columbia Cemetery.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Pastoral Education Endowment Fund at Woodcrest Chapel, c/o Bach-Yager Funeral Chapel, 1610 N. Garth Ave., Columbia, MO 65202.

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