Monday, December 17, 2007

In Memorium: Wanda Fae Miller

As I mentioned in my last post my mother passed away on December 5th. Here the obituary write-up we provided for publication:
Wanda Fae (Fankhouser) Miller, 73, passed away following a long illness Wednesday, December 5, 2007 at her home in Roque Bluffs, Maine. She is survived by her husband of 49 years, Robert E. (Bob) Miller; two sons, Kevin J. Miller and his wife, Tricia, of Winchendon, Massachusetts, and Robin J. Miller and his wife Kym, of Savannah, Georgia; and nine grandchildren. She is also survived by two sisters, Gwen (Fankhouser) Tustin, New Martinsville, West Virginia, and Ruth Fankhouser, of Mingo Junction, Ohio; and several nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by two brothers, Marion and George Fankhouser.

Wanda was born in New Martinsville, West Virginia February 7, 1934, daughter of Marion Rollier and Ida Irene (Prunty) Fankhouser, the youngest of 5 children. Wanda graduated from Magnolia High School in 1952, and then from Shepherd College in 1955 with a B.S. in Business Administration. She married Bob Miller of Xenia, Ohio in 1957. Following the completion of Bob’s military service in 1960 they lived in New Mexico, where their eldest son was born. They moved to Ellicott City, Maryland in 1962, and raised their two children while Wanda was employed as a bookkeeper for various medical offices. They enjoyed traveling and participating in church Missions projects. They also spent many vacations in Maine together. Following Bob’s retirement in 1996, they moved to Roque Bluffs, Maine, where they built a house together. She loved quilting and reading, and was active in the Ellsworth Church of the Nazarene.
I learned much from my mother. She taught me to read and instilled a love of reading that continues to this day. I'm a voracious reader and that has helped me in many ways.

I learned to appreciate music from her. My brother and I took music lessons, he in french horn and I in trombone, at her insistence. She loved to sing, even though she could not carry a tune in a bucket. Hence I learned that true appreciation of music comes not from the skill of it's performance but from the heart of the performer and it's connection to others.

My mother taught me to stand up for what was right. She didn't always get along with some because she spoke her mind plainly and would not compromise on her principles. Being right was, and is, more important than being liked. I also learned that a little tact helps in expressing one's opinions.

Most importantly I learned about priorities. My priorities of faith, family, health, work and church reflect what I have seen and learned from her and my father. Always first is our relationship with God; everything else flows from that. Family and health come next. Work and church come after all that, and for me there is a gap between the first 3 and the next 2.

I learned that faith and church are not the same. Churches are human organizations intended to help one develop and practice their faith. We must be careful not to let the conflicts and disagreements that arise between fallible human people regarding the church negatively affect our relationship with God.

In the end I learned love. Though she seldom expressed it in words, I know she loved me by her actions and deeds; and I loved her as a son, who was raised the best way she knew how and who learned as much as I could from her.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor 13:13

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