Anna D. Miller (’81)

MILLER Anna D. Gowans Miller Passed away peacefully on the evening of May 29, 2020 at her home in Cumberland, MD with her husband George at her side after being ill for a few months. She was born on August 5, 1947 in St. Monance, Fife, Scotland to James Gowans, a fisherman and seaman and Nellie Statham Gowans, a Captain in the Salvation Army. She was born Agnes Dorothy Gowans, later changing her name to Anna. She was the youngest child of three. She attended Waid Academy in Anstruther, Fife where she earned six highers in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, English, French and Mathematics. Recognized as a gifted student, she received full tuition as well as a stipend to the University of Edinburgh from which she graduated with a Master of Arts degree in English Literature and Mandarin in 1969. She met her first husband, George Young, through the Debating Society and they were married in Edinburgh in September 1968. After her graduation the next spring, she started her world travels that would play an important role in her life. She and George traveled to Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal and other places. As summed up by a customs agent on their return to the UK, they had been to all the “happy lands” of the time. Returning to Edinburgh, she earned a post-graduate Secondary School Teaching Certificate from the Moray House College of Education. She did some substitute teaching in the UK, including London, but found it not to her liking. During some further travels, she met the Headmaster of Iranzamin, Tehran International School who spent several months recruiting her to teach at his school. In 1974, she became the school’s Chairman of the English Department. She taught junior and senior high school students English Literature and planned and implemented a two-year International Baccalaureate Curriculum for grades eleven and twelve. With her guidance, her students attended excellent universities in the US and elsewhere and some of them happily ran into her decades later in DC. Four years later and a year before dramatic events in Iran, she decided to leave on her own and pursue a new career in business. She spent some time in London and found conditions there sad with all the strikes and on a while, off a while power. She flew out of a darkened London for the US, considering herself an economic refugee of UK decline. She went to Texas where she had been accepted into graduate school at the University of Houston. She earned an MBA in 1981 and passed the CPA exams on the first try. She was granted a divorce in 1979. There, she also started the process of becoming a US citizen which she completed in 1988 in DC. Her career in accounting began with three years at Touche Ross in Houston performing audits of publicly and privately held companies in oil and gas, manufacturing and health care, etc. During this time, she traveled around the western US and visited friends in DC. Liking DC, she sought a job there and in September 1985, went to work for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting as a Senior Auditor and moved into a tiny townhouse on Brown’s Court, SE. For the next four years, she traveled all over the US to CPB funded TV and radio stations, generally for two week audits followed by two weeks back in DC to compile her findings. After settling for a while in DC, she joined Mensa and attended some of their events. In November 1987, at one of their regular Wednesday happy hours, aptly held that day at The Meeting Place at 17th & L, she met her future husband, George Miller, a DC native. They were together from that time on and were married in Buckie, Scotland in September 1995. They lived in a less tiny townhouse on Snows Court, NW in Foggy Bottom for 20 years. There, no longer renting, they indulged their mutual fondness for cats as they continued to do thereafter. They traveled a few times to the UK for George to see many charming places where she had spent her childhood and youth. Having visited many of the CPB stations around the country, she sought a more settled job in DC and in early 1990 became a Technical Manager for the AICPA for a few years and then an independent Technical Writer for them. Work got more interesting in early 1995 when she went to work for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform and Oversight Subcommittee on Government Management, Information and Technology as a policy advisor on financial management, budgeting and reform. She happily guided the Single Audit Act Amendments and other items through the legislative process. In June 1997, having followed her work on the Hill, management of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Quality Management Office recruited her as a consultant to assess and document Process Improvement Initiatives throughout the armed services and agencies of the Departmant of Defense. Thus began another few years of extensive travel, this time to Korea, Japan, Hawaii and generally around the Pacific and elsewhere to report on eighty four initiatives. The war on terror took a toll on the initiatives and her assessing them ended in late 2003. Having been an active member of and advisor to the Association of Government Accountants for some years, she joined their staff as Technical Manager and then Director of Research in 2004 where she continued until her retirement in 2011. Though one might have expected her to travel in retirement, she chose not to as both the journey, via air travel, and most destinations of interest to her had changed and lost their appeal of earlier decades. She and her husband retreated with the cats to a home in Cumberland which offered many opportunities for day trips to some of the least developed and most scenic areas of the country as well as wildlife visiting their house and complicating her gardening, which she happily accepted. She continued her lifelong interest in science fiction as well as world philosophies and religions. Per her request, she was cremated and no service held yet due to the current lockdown.

Submission Rules…

By submitting a class note, you agree:

  • All Class Notes are visible to the general public. Do not submit anything you wish to keep private.
  • The University of Houston reserves the right to edit all submissions.
  • No Advertising or any form of commercial solicitation is permitted.
  • Unauthorized copyrighted material will be deleted.

Learn More