Mary L. MillerIssue Date: September 30, 2020
Mary Louise (Mathy) Miller, 101, passed away in her sleep Friday, Sept. 25, 2020 in hospice care at St. Paul Home due to complications after a COVID-19 diagnosis.
Born Armistice day, Nov. 11, 1918 in Menominee, Mi., to Ann (Shepeck) and Vital August Mathy into a Catholic family, she was born during the 1918 pandemic on the day World War I ended and it took the next global pandemic to take her from this life she loved. She was one of eight children, all named some variation of Joseph or Mary. Her father was killed working for the railroad.
She was stylish with her hair, lipstick, nails always done and earrings to match every outfit, even if a Packers sweatshirt with jeans. She lived every day to the hilt and recorded all of it in her diaries.
Known for praying the rosary, she took long daily walks, talked to anyone who would listen and attributed her longevity to that. She enjoyed playing cards and bingo, dancing, especially the polka and waltz, arranging flowers, watching sports of basketball, baseball and football, especially when her grandchildren were playing, traveling to visit family, reading romance novels, listening to music, especially Nat King Cole and was known to make up and sing her own little songs. She also enjoyed a highball or a beer with cheese and crackers with family and friends. She had an active, playful childhood, despite poverty and her mother's sternness.
She married Albert Frederick Miller on June 12, 1939 and had their first daughter, Joan (Miller) in 1941 before he was deployed to the Pacific in the United States Navy where he fought in World War II. Their second daughter, Mary Lynn (Heinritz) was born in 1946, nine months to the day he returned from the war. Their baby, Anne (Vanden Heuvel) came six years later in 1952. After briefly living in Portland, Oregon, the family returned closer to home and settled in Appleton in 1962 where he worked as a foreman for Appleton Machine. They celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in 1964 and on Dec. 19, 1966, he died suddenly of a heart attack. She never remarried and longed for him ever after.
She returned to Appleton in 1978 and lived at Appleton's Randall Court Apartments until 2016 until no longer able to live on her own when she moved into St. Paul Home in Kaukauna, where she enjoyed daily visits with her daughters Joan, until her death in 2019 and Anne and was cared for through the end of her life.
A long-time parishioner of St. Therese in Appleton, she walked to Mass every day and worked as a clerk at Ford Rexall Drug store. An extrovert, she spent most of her life living alone and dedicated her post-retirement years helping raise her nine grandchildren by babysitting, watching them play basketball, playing canasta, sheepshead and 31 and taking them to Erb park to swim. Her legacy was her laughter and love. She left a mark on everyone who knew her, especially her family and taught them how to love, live and die with spirit and grace.
She wintered in Texas with daughter, Mary Lynn and granddaughter Marin and became a part of their community outside Dallas. In 2018, the family celebrated her 100th birthday, a goal she set decades before, wearing a tiara and a feather boa. She outlived her parents, all her brothers and sisters, her husband, two of her daughters, and her first-born grandchild.
Survivors include a daughter, Anne Vanden Heuvel (Scot) of Kaukauna; son-in-law Charlie Miller of Kaukauna; eight grandchildren; nine great grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.
Family and friends gathered at Verkuilen - Van Deurzen Family Funeral Home in Kaukauna on Monday, Sept. 28 from 10 a.m. until time of Celebration of Life Services at 11 a.m. Donations can be made in her memory to St. Paul Elder Services, Inc.
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