Voice of passion

Posted on 16 April 2014



Barbara Cliffe Miller


News Writer


Those who meet Barbara Cliffe Miller for the first time are struck with two first impressions. The first is her physical stature— she is 6’2” in height and stands out in a crowd. The second is her incredible “can do” attitude, which she attributes to her family members. “They had high expectations for me and encouraged me to pursue my goals,” she explains.

When she was in the sixth grade her father asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. Her surprising answer was that she wanted to be a doctor or an opera singer.

She achieved the first goal when she graduated from Boston University with a doctorate in Physical Therapy, a career she has pursued for over 30 years.

Even though she does not currently sing with an opera, she does have a classically trained voice and may sound like an opera singer to those who hear her.

She began studying voice in 7th grade in Sylvania, Ohio where her choral teacher was none other than Louis F. “Chip” Davis Jr., who went on to found the popular music group Mannheim Steamroller.

Barbara obtained her B.S. from what was then known as Heidelberg College in Tiffin, Ohio. She was the fourth generation family female graduate of that institution, which is now called Heidelberg University.

She sang with the college choir, which gave her the opportunity to travel on concert tours to Europe, including a special trip to Heidelberg, Germany.

She continued her education by obtaining a physical therapy degree from Cleveland State University prior to her enrollment at Boston University.

Barbara attributes her many talents and inspiration to her parents, but especially to her mother and grandmother, both of whom were medical technologists and “wonderful altos” by all accounts. Her father worked for many years in hospital administration.

Memorial Hospital and the Bainbridge community became recipients of Barbara’s talents when she and her husband Eric relocated to Bainbridge from Michigan in Jan. 2012. Eric came as Chief of Bainbridge Public Safety and in Feb. 2012, Barbara was named Director of Rehabilitative Services at Memorial Hospital.

Since coming to Bainbridge, Barbara has become an active member of Rotary, where she is co-chair of the Rotary Foundation, a member of the First Presbyterian Church choir, has appeared in several Bainbridge Little Theatre productions and is a newly appointed member of the BLT board of directors. She also sings at community events when needed, often working with pianist Ray Inman.

She is a member of the YMCA and a social member of the Bainbridge Country Club. She comes from an athletic family and loves sports. She played basketball and was a competitive swimmer. She describes both her mother and grandmother as having been great golfers, basketball players and swimmers.

Although she has accomplished much, she is constantly looking for new opportunities in her life.

Her current personal and career goal is to work on some of the language barriers that seem to plague her as a medical provider. “Patients will come in who do not always understand the directions that have been given by their physicians.” Perhaps the patients are Spanish speaking or have a dialect that is hard to understand. “I find I must look, listen and learn before I can then lead them to better health,” she explains.

She also is passionate about helping rid the world of polio and that is one big reason she became involved with Rotary. In her work she is finding persons with post-polio syndrome and wants to raise public awareness of that condition.

She is a great believer in being flexible and reinventing yourself when you need to.

She and husband Eric have been married 22 years and together they have three grown children, all living in Michigan.

When people look back on her life, she wants them to be able to say,  “She made life better.”

Barbara is a definite stand-out in all her endeavors.

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