Oral was parked in a country school classroom, just listening. School officials sent him to board at a school for the blind in Louisville, 200 miles away. Blind upperclassmen attended classes at sighted Louisville Male High School, where Oral graduated as valedictorian. At Princeton, he mastered a 3-D map of the school and traveled the campus without a walking stick.
Oral tried out for freshman crew: “I told the coach that I could not see, so learning to row would be a little bit different process for me.” Coach Dutch Schoch replied, “What the hell difference does that make? A lot of the fellas I’ve coached row like they can’t see what the hell they’re doing anyway.” Oral rowed all four years and later competed in ten-pin bowling, cross-country skiing, and dragon boat racing.
After Princeton, Oral went to the University of Chicago law school. He spent 22 years in various posts for the federal government. He moved on to be president and executive director of the American Council of the Blind and the International Blind Sports Association. He formed and became president of the American Blind Lawyers Association.
In 1980, Oral was awarded the annual Class of 1955 Distinguished Achievement Award. Chuck Goldman, a retired disability-rights attorney, said of Oral’s passing: “Oral Miller was a mensch who made the world a better place for all by his presence, his humor, his advocacy, his smarts.”
Oral was predeceased by his second wife, Roberta Douglas, and is survived by his four stepchildren, George, Ian, Laurie Douglas, and Jeanne Havrilla; and his divorced first wife, Carol Gartrell.