John's Remarks at Virginia's Memorial Service

Here we are again

Thank you all for coming today.
Here we are again.

We gathered here as a family on January 31, 2004 for Gerald Elwood Jerry Miller's memorial service.

Today we gather to honor his wife, our Mother, your Grandmother, Aunt, and Friend, Mildred Virginia Coffey Miller.

Denny Died

With us some 2,000 days ago, was my brother, Jerry and Virginia's oldest son, Dennis Gerald Miller. Denny died just over two years ago. His wife Janet will speak today.

Coffeys, Pennie Died

Mom had two brothers, Robert & Paul, .... who died long ago.

Uncle Paul's 3 sons are here with us today, but their sista Pennie, like Dennis, passed away since We Were Here Last.

Our Uncle Bob had no children, but he was || very || special || to the whole family.

Virginia's Passing marks the end of a generation of Coffeys.

Mike Coffey will reflect on this, for us, today.

Millers, Joanie is here today

Since Jerry passed away, so has his brother Norman Miller (or Uncle Spud), his brother Warren (Uncle Ike) and their wives Grace, and Bonnie.

Dad's other two brothers died before him: Darrel and Virgil.

With us today is Joanie Miller, Virgil Miller's wife, who is now the lone stateswoman of the Miller clan.

Joanie, we wish you continued good health. ... I wish we were all as young at heart as you are!

New Great Grandkids BORN

Since we were here last, the newest great-grandchildren of Virginia and Jerry's were born:

Sweet Lucy Williams, 3 1/2,
Little Tommy Miller, 3,
Baby Juliette Williams, 1!

All that, in 2000 days.

Thanking Family and Friends

Mom lived 500 & 1 days (and long nights) after breaking her hip on Easter Weekend, 2008.

I thank my brother Robert for taking good care of Mom all that time.
Hopefully, he can now take time to enjoy his life and those new grandchildren.

We also thank my sister Judy's family for helping Mom after Dad passed away and for taking care of the Millwood homestead.

Thank you, Russ and Emmagean Chaffee, for your generous kindness.

Janet wrote Lots of letters to Mom.
Mom carried them in her purse and shared them with everyone.
Thank you Janet.

For Mom, there was no such thing as too many letters from family.
So, thanks to all who sent letters and photos to Mom and Dad.

My mom's Best Friend, Arzell Pollock, was Our family's second mother.
Mom & Arzell talked almost every night before bed.
We love you, Arzell.

Thanking The Gardens

Mom stayed at The Gardens on University two different times, with Park Place in between.

Mom's therapist, James, got her walking again after each broken hip. He had to humor her along.
Harry, joked right along with Mom, and was usually the one, to quote Mom, "get her into bed at night".
Women Friends Elsie, BJ, and Pat extended their friendship and looked out for her.

The people at Park Place were good too, but Mom just didn't understand what that place was.

A little humor

Let's not Dwell on her final days, or year...

Let's get the paper out and read some Ads!

Mom loved to let you know what was on sale. [HIDE BEHIND PAPER]

Albertson's has Corn on the Cob, 3 for a dollar!

Walla Walla Sweets, 99 cents a pound!

(This is the part where I can't see your eyes rolling, or see you Waving to get me to stop.)

Fred Meyer -- Paper Towels -- FIVE for a dollar!

What's that you say? Oh, go on!

Mom could shop with the best of them. What she DID with the stuff is another story.

She could Pack You a Lunch... In fact, you didn't leave home without one.

She wrote detailed grocery lists;
She made an annual can-of-popcorn lists,
She made Christmas card lists, and grandkid's birthday lists.

She made more than one list of states she'd visited.
And just for fun, evidently, she'd list state capitols.
I think I inherited that list-making gene.

She kept a memo pad for each big trip.
I'll share a few entries from this 1937 journal at lunch today.

Mom could arrange Flowers from the yard in Massive Arrays.

She collected her Trademark roosters and hens. What was that story?

She was always Telling people to be careful. She just wanted you to be Safe. But she'd worry anyway.

Dad tended the Canes in the Back Yard.
Mom picked the RazzBerries and made "Gina's Freezer Jam".
Help yourself in the Reception Hall.

Going Home

I got over 230 Letters from Mom after leaving Washington in 1972.
At some point Cynthia & I noticed the the letters from ARIZONA started saying '...sure wish I could be home'.

When anyone asked Mom how she liked Park Place, she very politely commented "The people are nice, and the food is good, but I would just as soon be home."

She was moved around so many times, that she came to feel like she was checked into a Motel somewhere.

Less than two weeks before she died, she was frustrated, and said "I just want to go to MY home and see MY kitty".

I was very happy to take Mom Home one last time for a little party with her neighbors, her friend Arzell, her grand-niece Kim, and for her to give some love to her remaining kitty, Kinky Too.

I'd like to think that last visit made it easier for her to finally go home.


Hawaii was calling to me in the last month of Mom's life.

Mom and Dad were adopted as Mainland Grandparents by two Hawaiian Families.
Judy and I stayed with Mom & Dad in Honolulu, as did Pennie, Carl & Arzell, and others.
Let's just say that Hawaii was special to Mom, a kind of paradise.

At the beginning of the service, we played music from 'After the Rain', by Bill Keale.

He dedicated the album to his mother...

"For those of us who make the journey home, rejoice,
for we can still find her singing in the light of her garden. ...

Mom, thank you for your strength and seeing me through the lessons of life and love.
All that is good in me is from you and almighty god."

Love you forever, Bill Keale.

Finally, in his book 'Dreams from My Father', Hawaiian-born Barack Obama wrote of his mother:

"In my daughters I see her every day, her joy, her capacity for wonder.
I won't try to describe how deeply I mourn her passing still.

I know that she was the kindest, most generous spirit I have ever known,
and that what is best in me
I owe to her."

Thank you again for coming. Aloha.