Betty Jane Miller, 100, went to be with our Lord and Savior on Tuesday, August 16, 2022, in Roswell, New Mexico.
There will be a burial service for Betty Miller on Tuesday, September 6, 2022, at 10:00 AM, at the Prairie Home Cemetery, 605 S. Prairie Ave, Waukesha, WI 53186. She will be buried next to the love of her life, her husband, Fred August Miller.
On September 25, 1921, Betty was born in Waukesha, WI, to Earl L. Prothero and Pearle E. Prothero. Betty graduated from Waukesha High School, Waukesha, WI, in 1939. After graduating high school, she worked as a telephone operator in Waukesha, WI.
Betty married Frederick August Miller on August 22, 1942, in Waukesha, WI. They became lifetime friends. After getting married in her parent’s living room with twenty guests in attendance, Fred and Betty went on their honeymoon on an island in Lake Superior for a week. After their honeymoon, Fred and Betty lived in Lexington, MO, where Fred was a mathematics instructor at Wentworth Military Academy from 1939 to 1945. In 1945, they moved to Roswell, NM, where Fred started a new job at the New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI) and taught college mathematics. During his tenure at NMMI, he became the Division Chairman of the College Mathematics Department. One of the highlights of his career at NMMI was teaching and tutoring Roger Staubach in Calculus. He retired in June 1969 after teaching with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) for the previous 6 or 7 years.
Betty had a full-time job of raising six children. For the first sixteen years (1945 - 1961), they lived in Roswell. In July of 1961, Betty went to work at Sears Department Store in Roswell. Eight years after working for Sears and six to seven years after learning that Fred had MS. Once again, Betty was called to show her strength and love for her family.
The Navy called Betty and Fred to inform them that their son, Robert Dean Miller (a Naval Corpsman), was badly wounded by mortar fire in Vietnam while getting off a Medivac helicopter to aid wounded Marine troops on the ground. As soon as Betty knew that Robert was stateside in California, she headed to California to see him through his surgeries. In the meantime, the rest of the family pulled together and cared for our father at home. I remember days when my mother worked a full day at Sears and still prepared three meals a day for my father.
When Betty retired after 22 ½ years (January 31, 1984), she was the head of the lingerie department. During her time at Sears, she met most of her “forever” close friends at Sears (customers and employees). At that time, Betty wrote in one of her journals, “I will miss the people, but not the work.” She told her family and friends she needed to be with Fred more and had other plans. Before Betty retired, she was very good about scheduling trips with Fred all over the Southwest and some trips back home to Wisconsin. She would drive Fred in their yellow and white Dodge handicap van. When they came to Roswell, they enjoyed trips to El Paso and Juarez with some of her brothers and sisters. They also loved shopping trips to Albuquerque and Santa Fe when they went to Albuquerque to see Steve.
When Betty did retire, she could not have known that the one she loved so much had only three months to live—only having three months with Fred after retiring always weighed heavy on her mind. She had always thought she would have more time with him. Fred passed away on April 28, 1984. After a year or two, Betty dusted off those “other plans” she had at retirement. She began to travel with one of her work friends, Clarrie Halverson. On February 12, 1985, they traveled to the Hawaiian Islands on a 9-day trip. On May 20, 1985, Betty’s sister Blanche came to Roswell. The two embarked on a 3,723-mile trip that took them through New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Oregon, Colorado, Montana, and Idaho – a 20-day trip. On June 19, 1986, Betty and Clarrie traveled to Wisconsin and back. After that, she and her sisters made many more trips. At the beginning of 1988, Betty discovered traveling by bus with other seniors’ groups. She didn’t quit driving her car until 2016, in her mid-90s, but after she turned 90 years old, she would no longer drive her car out of town.
Some of Betty’s favorite past-times were her computer and crossword puzzles. She loved e-mailing her friends and staying in contact with them on Facebook. Betty generally spent 1 to 2 hours in the afternoon on her computer. Every day she worked the crossword puzzles in the newspaper.
Before going to the BeeHive Homes of Roswell in October 2018, Betty was involved in her community. She enjoyed going to Church every week. Betty would attend a Sunday School class every week before church services at the First Presbyterian Church in Roswell. She served as an Elder and Deacon of the Church. Betty loved to go to the Christmas Service every Christmas, then go home for a Christmas Eve dinner with her family.
For many years, Betty volunteered as a greeter at the UFO Museum a couple of times a week. Lastly, she was a member of the 5-Staters Club.
Betty was an accomplished artist. She has pictures of scenes and still-life paintings that were hung in her room at the BeeHives and in all her children’s and grandchildren’s homes.
Survivors include her sons: Fred Kenneth Miller and wife Nancy Raney Miller of Dennison, TX, Ronald Lee Miller and wife Cynthia Louise Miller of Roswell, NM, Jeff Miller and wife Renae Miller of Roswell, NM; daughter-in-law, Diana Miller of Albuquerque, NM; 12 grand-children: Mark Kenneth Miller, Lorilyn Miller and Keri Jolyn Lillis of Dennison, TX; Jennifer Lynn James of Syracuse, NY, David Michael James of Fair Haven, NY and Christopher Eric James of Liverpool, NY; Ryan Lee Miller (wife Gabriella Taylor Miller) and Randall Edwin Miller of Roswell, NM; Sean Allen Gajewsky of Longview, TX; Robert Dustin Miller, Amanda Christine Walker of Gardner, Kansas; Michael James Miller of Roswell, NM and 21 great-grandchildren.
Betty Miller was preceded in death by her husband, Frederick August Miller; parents, Earl LeBerte Prothero and Pearle Evelyn Prothero; sisters: Blanche Harriet, Lillian Aleene Mullins, Leah Evelyn Prothero Marquardt, Shirley Mae Prothero Ludeman, and Geraldine Louise Prothero; brothers: Ray Douglas Prothero, Earl Lambert Prothero, and Claude Gibson Prothero; sons: Robert Dean Miller and Steve Allen Miller; daughter, Beverly Jean Miller; daughter-in-law, Rosalind “Roz” C. Miller; and her son-in-law, Michael Leo James.
Mother will be missed by her family and friends. The family would like to give a special “Thanks” to Veronica Avila for her loving care of her mother for the past 6 + years. We would also like to thank Elizabeth Silva and the staff at the BeeHive of Roswell. They, along with their many residents over the past four years, made her life so much easier to enjoy.
In lieu of flowers, please make a memorial gift to Community Kitchen, Inc., PO Box 3010, Roswell, NM 88202-3010, a 501(C)(3) Charitable Organization.
Betty’s tribute was written in her honor by her family.