Jean Theresa Miller, 92, issued a statement that her work here is done. She received a call, an offer that can't be refused, for an appointment from which she will not be returning. This assignment comes with a huge sign-on bonus; a reunion with her husband Tom, son Mark, brother Jim, parents, extended family, and friends she has not seen in a long time.
Jean was born November 25, 1924, Minot, ND, to Theresa Marie and Winfield Scott Neil. She had a self-described loving, comfortable childhood, growing-up in a true melting pot of German, Greek, Jewish, Russian and Scandinavian immigrants. This idyllic life took a dramatic turn during the Great Depression, where the family endured a near-constant cycle of moves. Struggling to pay the rent, her father often accepted merchandise instead of cash, as payment for the work he was able to find. Jean's life took an even more dramatic turn when, at the age of 13, she lost her father. Suddenly, her family was forced to find creative ways to cover life's necessities. As so many survivors of the depression know, they had no idea how truly poor they were. It was through these trials that Jean's resolve for family unity, personal sacrifice and the importance of higher education was formed.
Jean married Thomas H. Miller, April 1947. He passed away in 2001. During their 54 years of marriage, Tom and Jean were bedrock partners. Their self-described greatest accomplishment being the raising and educating of their eleven, yes Eleven, individually minded children. These children enjoy recounting how their parents attended each of their sport, music and theatrical performances. Often Jean and Tom had to split-up to cover their brood's busy schedules. And, make no mistake; the family dinners at 6:00pm were mandatory. They were much more than just physical sustenance; this was family time. A true gathering, lively with debate and discussion.
As if raising a family of this size wasn't enough of an accomplishment, Jean felt an obligation to her community. Honors garnered during her many years of service include induction into the State of Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame (1990), named Cherokee's first Woman of the Year (1974), the Silver Beaver (1977, Boy Scout's highest civilian honor), Iowa Personnel and Guidance Association Lay Person Award (1981) and Women of Excellence Inductee (1997). She was also a long-time Board Member of Mid Sioux Opportunity (30-years); Instructor for Western Iowa Tech, assisting hundreds of community members achieve their GED (Graduate Equivalency Degree); founding Board Member and Secretary of the Ecumenical Institute; Board Member of Cherokee Committee Theater; President of Cherokee's Sanford Museum Association Board and domestic volunteer, providing a safe house for battered women.
Jean is preceded to the Great Reunion by her parents, Theresa and Winfield Neil; brother, James Neil; husband, Thomas Miller; son, Mark Miller; and grandchildren Scott Hill and David Miller. Her legacy continues to be celebrated by her children: Kathleen Johannsen, Deborah Hankens, Michele Jones, Vincent Miller, James Miller, Steven Miller, Scott Miller, Mary Bos, Paul Miller, John Miller, their spouses, numerous grand children, great-grandchildren and friends.
In lieu of flowers, tributes to Jean may be sent to The Boy Scouts of America and Mid Sioux Opportunity, Inc.
Please join us in celebrating the incredible life of Jean Theresa Miller. Visitation, Friday, March 31, 2017, 3pm-7pm, will be held at Greenwood Schubert Funeral Home, 216 S. 2nd St., Cherokee, IA. Funeral celebration, Saturday, April 1st, 10:30am, will be held at Immaculate Conception Church, 709 W. Cedar St., Cherokee, IA.
If she's able to take a break from her Reunion, it's our sincere hope that she's there to continue to silently, or not so silently, correct our grammar.
10:30 a.m., Saturday, April 1st at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Cherokee.
Father Dan Guenther
3:00-7:00 p.m., Friday, March 31st at Greenwood-Schubert Funeral Home in Cherokee. The family will be present for visitation from 5:00 until 7:00 p.m. A prayer service will then follow at 7:00 p.m.
Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Cherokee