UMMC leadership extends its sympathy to the families of two legendary members of the Medical Center community for their loved ones’ unparalleled contributions to the academic health sciences center.
Bebe Richardson, R.N., M.H.S.
Bebe Richardson, a registered nurse who worked in various clinical and administrative capacities for more than 50 years and who served as chief nursing officer at UMMC, died Aug. 7. She was 86.
Before Richardson retired from UMMC in 2002 as chief nursing officer, a position she held for 15 years, she served as interim director of nursing, associate hospital director for patient services, associate hospital director for nursing and nursing instructor. She also spent more than a decade as director of nursing at Woman’s Hospital.
Dr. Janet Harris, professor and associate dean of practice and community engagement in the School of Nursing, described Richardson, a longtime colleague, as “the epitome of caring in nursing.”
“Patients came first to her, but she also understood the value of a skilled and competent nursing staff,” Harris said. “She led by serving others and raised others, like me, up in the process.
“Bebe gave me my first job in management when I was too young and green to know what I did not know. But with her support and opportunities for development, I came to love management and leadership. She was and always will be ‘one of a kind.’
“I never met a person who did not love her for her authenticity or genuineness.”
A native of Ethel, Richardson graduated from Pascagoula High School and went to college in New Orleans, earning her diploma in nursing at the Mather School of Nursing in 1952. She then earned a B.S.N. and an M.H.S. in hospital administration at Mississippi College.
She went on to work in nearly every aspect of nursing, from a private office to medical centers, from the operating room to the emergency room to administration.
In 2007, she was inducted into the Mississippi Nurses Association and the Mississippi Nurses Foundation Hall of Fame.
Visitation and a memorial service for Richardson took place Aug. 11 at Truitt Memorial Baptist Church in Pearl. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Truitt Pastoral Continuing Education Fund through the Rankin County Baptist Association, 200 Park Place Drive, Pearl.
Richard C. Miller, M.D.
Dr. Richard C. Miller, the first pediatric surgeon in the state of Mississippi and one of the “founding fathers” of Children’s Hospital, died Aug. 7. He was 88.
Dr. Guy Giesecke, CEO of Children’s of Mississippi, called Miller a “cornerstone of children’s health care in Mississippi.”
“Dr. Miller’s contributions to Children’s Hospital are immense,” Giesecke said. “He was instrumental in building the children’s surgical service into what it is today.”
A native of Hartford, Connecticut, Miller earned his B.S. at Harvard College and his M.D. at Harvard Medical School. He completed his surgical training and residency at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, and at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne, Australia.
At Case Western, Miller met Suzanne Thorne, a fellow house officer. They were married for 56 years.
The Millers moved to Mississippi in 1969 and began working at UMMC. Miller served UMMC for 43 years and played an instrumental role in the administrative part of Children’s Hospital, serving as interim chair of anesthesiology twice, interim chair of surgery, associate dean for clinical affairs and medical director of University Hospital. A longtime director of the Cystic Fibrosis Center, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Millsaps College in 2011.
“Dr. Miller was the only pediatric surgeon (in the state) for a number of years and was continuously on call to provide life-saving care for the children of Mississippi,” said Dr. Mary B. Taylor, Suzan B. Thames Chair of Pediatrics. “In addition to the number of children whom he impacted, he changed the lives of hundreds of students and residents, many of whom remain in Mississippi today.
“Dr. Miller has left a wonderful legacy that will impact generations of children. We are deeply saddened that one of our ‘founding fathers’ of Children’s Hospital has left us, but his memory will be carried on through his exemplary life’s work.”
The Richard C. Miller Pediatric Surgery Chair, established in 2017 by Miller’s former residents Dr. Frank Critz and Dr. Ann Critz, supports educational opportunities for faculty, residents and students in pediatric surgery; research in pediatric surgical techniques and pediatric pulmonary diseases; and recruitment and training of physicians and faculty members.
“It is an honor and a privilege to have known Dr. Miller for the past 11 years and to continue to care for some of his patients,” said Dr. Christopher J. Blewett, the first recipient of the chair. “His work at UMMC established the foundation of the strong children’s surgery program that exists today within Children’s of Mississippi. His record of service to the institution is unlikely ever to be duplicated by a single individual.
“I, along with the entire UMMC Department of Surgery, are deeply saddened by his passing, but incredibly grateful for his influence in our lives.”
Visitations and a memorial service for Miller took place Aug. 10-11 at Fondren Presbyterian Church in Jackson. Burial will take place in Connecticut. Memorials may be made to Friends of Children's Hospital at www.foch.org.