5 minute read

Lyn Letsinger-Miller

~by Julia Pearson

John and Mildred Letsinger raised their daughter Lyn in Fort Wayne, Indiana for the first 14 years of her life. John was the assistant plant manager of International Harvester. The family moved to the Chicago area when he was promoted to overseas production manager.

Lyn found her career inspiration while studying journalism in high school. She was editor of the school paper and was chosen as the student reporter for the high school highlights page of the daily newspapers issued by Paddock Publications in the western suburbs of Chicago. After graduation in 1968, the same news organization hired her for a summer reporting job.

With press credentials and a news photographer alongside, Lyn embarked on an electrifying and historic experience, going to Grant Park a week before the fateful 1968 Democratic National Convention. She interviewed the gathering political operatives of all stripes, Yippies, and activist singers of the era, in essence scooping the rallies, protests, and the riot that are now in history books.

Entering Indiana University in Bloomington that fall, Lyn reported for the Indiana Daily Student, and decided to switch her focus from print journalism to radio and television.

For 20 years, Lyn became well-known in TV news broadcasting, breaking down barriers for other women to follow.

Two voices in Lyn’s life influenced her. Her father’s voice, always present, told her she could do anything, in spite of any restrictions. He had been an All-American football player at Purdue and played with the Pittsburg Steelers. She credits him for her drive and competitiveness, as well as her love of all sports.

Sylvia Begun, mother of her Fort Wayne roommate, Wynne Begun, has been an enduring role model. Sylvia found her way in a new country and had this steely wisdom: “Girls, you are responsible for your own happiness. Not a man, not a job. Just you.”

While working at a TV station in Fort Wayne, Lyn met her husband, Leo Miller, a news photographer. The couple was later hired by Channel 6, WRTV in Indianapolis, where Lyn was the first female news producer working in a variety of positions, including 11 p.m. show producer and on-location producer. Leo worked as photographer and editor.

They moved to Brown County in 1981 after building a cabin, commuting to the Indy station. Their son Blair was born in Bloomington Hospital and grew up in Brown County.

Lyn and Leo, now, and in 1980 on the day they bought their Brown County property. courtesy photos

Lyn and Leo, now, and in 1980 on the day they bought their Brown County property. courtesy photos

Lyn taught journalism at Indiana University for ten years, and Leo went into private production. Lyn worked for the Brown County Democrat for a year and a half, getting to know the area in a deeper way and writing features about the artists of the early art colony.

A neighbor and friend, Margaret Colglazier, was the executive director of the Brown County Art Guild, as well as an appraiser and art dealer. Their relationship led to them starting Brown County Fine Arts, appraising and selling paintings.

With Margaret’s urging, Lyn wrote The Artists of Brown County. It was published by the Indiana University Press in 1994. It is for serious art lovers as well as those who like to learn about the men and women who made Brown County a hub of artistic activity from 1900 through the 1940s. The book is filled with reproductions of the early artists’ works and is currently in its fourth printing.

Lyn joined the Brown County Art Gallery’s Board of Directors in 2005. It was founded in 1926 by the early impressionists and has supported Hoosier artists past and present for nearly 100 years. In 2006, Lyn was instrumental in bringing back the Collectors Showcase. Statewide representation is seen in the permanent exhibition by the Indiana Heritage Arts, of which Lyn is a board member.

The expansion of the Art Gallery was finished and opened in 2015. The 15,000 square foot facility currently supports 60 working artists and an art education studio dedicated to workshops and community events. It also preserves and exhibits significant historic pieces of art. The gallery is the exclusive representative of the estate of artist Nancy Noel, and it has sold work by Hoosier music legend John Mellencamp.

Leo Miller sold his video production business in 2019 and has since been deeply involved as a volunteer with the technology that is part of the gallery’s exhibits and he oversees the physical plant.

Blair graduated from Brown County High School. He received his baccalaureate degree from Hanover College and then completed a law degree at the University of Louisville. He lives in Cincinnati where he works in risk management for a consulting firm.

For their constant vision, hard work, and volunteering for the Brown County Art Gallery, the lobby has been named for Lyn Letsinger-Miller and Leo Miller.

Lyn with Steve Miller, the architect, during the 2015 expansion. photo by Cindy Steele

Lyn with Steve Miller, the architect, during the 2015 expansion. photo by Cindy Steele