MICHAEL COOGAN MILLER
March 25, 1939 – October 19, 2021
Michael passed away gently after facing his cancer with grace and strength. He was surrounded by his family and was blessed to have had the loving support of many close friends and colleagues in his last days. Thank you to all the staff at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Bridgepoint Sinai Health for their attention, care, and thoughtful treatment.
Michael is survived by his wife Margit (née Sorensen), their three children, Mila (Scott Thomson), Patrick, and Stephen (Jill Furnival), of whom he was so proud, and his three grandchildren, Waylon, Everett, and Eden, with whom he loved spending time. He is now with his first-born child, Metina, whom he always missed so much.
Michael was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, and grew up in the neighbourhood of Shaughnessy alongside his sister, Sherry (Kendall), and brother, Steve. His mother, Jesse (“Jackie”) Miller, was a nurse, and his father, Sidney W. Miller, was former President of the Vancouver Stock Exchange. He attended Magee High School and later the University of British Columbia where he studied Architecture, laying the foundation for his life’s work. He also met his beautiful wife Margit at UBC, a young woman from Denmark. They married on December 27, 1965. During their 60 years together, Michael and Margit lived in Vancouver, Montreal, Copenhagen, and Toronto.
Michael began his professional career with Arthur Erickson in Montreal, working on Expo ‘67. In the early 1970s, he joined the (Ron) Thom Partnership in Toronto where he had the privilege of working on projects that included Trent University (Peterborough), the Metro Toronto Zoo, and the Westin Prince Hotel (Toronto). In the early 1980s, he opened his own award-winning practice and continued to work on significant commercial and residential projects, including Buttonville Airport (Markham) and Expo ‘86 in Vancouver. His firm later expanded to become Miller Bobaljik Peel Architects. Michael was a member of the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA), and in 1994, was granted Fellowship with the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC).
While practicing architecture, Michael was an author and lectured at several post-secondary institutions. He made his official move to academia in 1991, becoming Chair of the Department of Architectural Science at Ryerson University, a role he held for 10 years. While at the University, Michael sat on several boards, judging panels, and selection committees. He also served as an advisor to many organizations and institutions, including the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM).
After his retirement, Michael continued to teach at Ryerson and OCAD University until 2020, and lectured for the OAA’s Continuing Education program. He found great reward working with students and giving back to the architecture profession in this way. He also found reward in Tai Chi, an art form he practiced, and mastered, for over 35 years.
Michael left an indelible mark on the people he met and the moments they shared. His presence will be missed but his impact will not be forgotten. Michael will be remembered by friends for his clever wit, loyalty, sentimentality, and their adventures; by colleagues and students for his creativity, empathy, integrity, and achievements; and by his family for his devotion, support, his many talents, and for the laughter he generated. To everyone he knew, he was generous, kind, soft-spoken, and gentle. Always.
In keeping with Michael’s wishes, the family will hold a small, private memorial gathering. Donations in Michael’s honour may be made to the Michael C. Miller Travel Award in the Department of Architectural Science at Ryerson University, which was established in 2019 on the occasion of his 80th birthday. Condolences may be forwarded through www.humphreymiles.com.
© 2021 Humphrey Funeral Home A.W. Miles – Newbigging Chapel Limited. All Rights Reserved.