Rhena <I>Schweitzer</I> Miller

Rhena Schweitzer Miller

Birth
Strasbourg, Departement du Bas-Rhin, Alsace, France
Death 22 Feb 2009 (aged 90)
Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Lambaréné, Ogooue et des Lacs Department, Moyen-Ogooué, Gabon
Memorial ID 34276351 · View Source
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Humanitarian. The only child of the legendary Dr. Albert Schweitzer, she assisted at his West African missionary hospital and took over the running of it after his death. Raised in Europe, as her mother's health would not stand the rigors of equatorial Africa, she wanted to study medicine but was prevented from doing so by her father. Still, she fully embraced his "reverence for life" philosophy, joining her mother on fund-raising trips to the United States during the late 1930s and helping to found the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship which still carries on the work. When her mother died in 1957, she wrote to her father suggesting a reunion on their joint birthday and to her surprise he not only agreed but allowed her to work in the laboratory at Lambarene. After training in Switzerland, she ran the laboratory and, upon Dr. Schweitzer's 1965 death, was placed in charge of the hospital. Her administration continued until she married her second husband, Dr. David Miller, in 1970. In the late 1960s she brought around 80 Biafrian refugee children to Lambarene, later returning many to their families when the Nigerian-Biafrian war ended. During the 1970s, the Millers conducted nutrition research and education in Asia, Africa, and Haiti then from 1979 to 1985 they ran medical relief projects in Yemen and Pakistan. After Dr. Miller's death in 1997, Mrs. Miller collected her parents' early letters, publishing them in 2003 under the title "The Albert Schweitzer-Helene Bresslau Letters, 1902-1912"; these documents give the fullest picture of Dr. Schweitzer's attitudes and the background of his work. Of her famed father, she said in a 1994 interview "He was not the saint some people made him out to be, but he was an exceptional human being".

Bio by: Bob Hufford


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
  • Added: 27 Feb 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 34276351
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Rhena Schweitzer Miller (14 Jan 1919–22 Feb 2009), Find A Grave Memorial no. 34276351, citing Albert Schweitzer Hospital Grounds, Lambaréné, Ogooue et des Lacs Department, Moyen-Ogooué, Gabon ; Maintained by Find A Grave .