It is with heavy hearts, deep sorrow and much love that we mourn the passing of Robert (Bob) Miller on Sunday, April 30, 2023 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Kitchener, Ontario. Bob fought a courageous and brief battle with anaplastic thyroid cancer, a rare and aggressive disease, which he was diagnosed with on January 30, 2023. Bob had been involved in the speed skating community since 1998 as a parent, coach, manager, referee, and President of the Ontario Speed Skating Association for 2 years.
“When Bob joined the Cambridge coaching crew, he brought with him an enormous sense of fairness, and acceptance of each athlete. He was a most welcome addition, always coming into the dressing room with a smile on his face, ready to get skaters though their programs. Bob was very vested in everyone’s success and well being.
He was very organized, familiar with rules, bulletins and competition flow, ensuring that the athletes he was responsible for had the best possible experience, as either coach or manager. Bob was great at tracking pb’s, and made sure everyone knew when something spectacular was accomplished.
But the best memory of Bob was the year he came out to the club Christmas party, dressed as the Grinch, handing out goodie bags. The gentleman who was our Santa for so many years had recently passed. He was well known to all the youngsters and there was some concern that Santa would not appear. So-Bob to the rescue!! Most of the kids knew it was he, and they understood something had changed. They were so respectful of Bob and the situation, they were a bit subdued at first, but Bob very quickly got them laughing and having fun. That is the measure of a coach who demonstrates integrity and respect, that in good times, or when things are tough, he was regarded as a person who wanted only the best for anyone under his tutelage.
Marg Oliveira – Coach Cambridge Speed Skating Club
“It is with regret and sorrow that we have learnt of the death of Short Track Referee Robert (Bob) Miller.
He started his coaching and refereeing career as his son, Dustin Miller, became involved in Short Track Speed Skating. Firstly, with the Kitchener Waterloo Club and later with the Cambridge Speed Skating Club in Ontario. He worked his way up to a very competent National Level 2 Referee. While always ready to referee at more senior levels, Bob loved to work with the younger skaters and was always first to be on the ice when the cradle skaters appeared. Lining up little skaters seemed to be one of his special skills.
Bob will always be remembered as the referee that was dressed to perfection. He always appeared dressed in his suit jacket and for sure froze on the ice, yet never complained. He was totally prepared at all times. He was the calmest of us all on the ice when the referee's feathers were rustled by the coaches on the bench. He quietly performed his duties, staying focused and alert, an asset to the Short Track refereeing world. The skaters always knew what to expect from him and they interacted with Bob in a respectful way as they appreciated his calm demeanor and professionalism.
Bob often took the time to speak to a skater after a race to explain why a call may, or may not, have been made. He saw the referee’s role as more than simply applying the rules; it was an opportunity for him to educate skaters and to help them understand how to improve. He would do the same with coaches to make sure that every call was a chance to learn and then teach.
Bob will be remembered fondly for his commitment, kind demeanor, and professionalism.”
Jacky Shoebridge – ISU/SSC Referee
Please join us for a Celebration of Life to honour Bob on June 10, 2023, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton, 30 Fairway Road S., Kitchener, Ontario.
It was Bob’s hope that his experience could help someone in the future. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in honour of Robert Miller to the London Health Sciences Foundation - London Regional Cancer Program in support of Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer research. Click here: https://lhsf.ca/ways-give/memory