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Dorothy Miller

August 8, 1923 -
November 24, 2018

Dorothy Ann Miller, who was loved and revered by many for her wisdom, vigor and humor, died early Saturday morning at her daughter’s home in St. Charles, Illinois. Miller, a longtime resident of Champaign, Illinois, was 95.

Dorothy was born August 8, 1923 in Christopher, Illinois, the youngest of four girls. Her …read more

Dorothy Ann Miller, who was loved and revered by many for her wisdom, vigor and humor, died early Saturday morning at her daughter’s home in St. Charles, Illinois. Miller, a longtime resident of Champaign, Illinois, was 95.

Dorothy was born August 8, 1923 in Christopher, Illinois, the youngest of four girls. Her parents were Edward and Myrtle Reiman. Dorothy’s childhood was spent in Christopher until the family moved to Urbana, Illinois just before the stock market crashed 1929. They headed south to find work for her father, and Dorothy eventually graduated from high school in Murphysboro, Illinois.

Dorothy attended Southern Illinois University, where she was a cheerleader and member of the Pi Kappa Sigma sorority. During her freshman year, imperial Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entered World War II.

Dorothy’s first job was as a teacher in Chester, Illinois. She then taught in East St. Louis and got a job in Yorkville, Illinois as a cheerleading coach and physical education teacher for elementary and high school students.

On Jan. 5, 1946, a young Air Force lieutenant on leave walked into the Dorothy’s eye. The two struck up a friendship and he eventually asked her out. Before long, rumors were flying around Yorkville about the P.E. teacher dating one of the “Miller boys.”

The Millers married on Aug. 21, 1948, in Murphysboro, Illinois. They then moved to Elgin, Illinois, where Dorothy coached girl’s volleyball, softball and a boy’s basketball team that won the city junior high basketball championship over teams coached by men, a fact she later relished in a personal history.

Dorothy taught in Herrin, Illinois; Paducah, Kentucky and Granite City, Illinois as the couple moved around the Midwest. She was a “jack of all trades” teaching various subjects and ages of children — history, P.E., health, spelling and social studies. She was also frequently a coach.

After Granite City, the Millers moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, and applied to adopt a child. Their application was accepted, and they adopted Elissa Ann Miller in 1958 and Scott Glasgow Miller a year later.

In her personal history, Mrs. Miller wrote about her feelings about her two children: “Knowing that there were hundreds of other babies needing adoption, I feel we are extremely blessed that the Lord saved Elissa (Lisa) and Scott especially for us to cherish and love.”

The Millers then moved to Sioux City, Iowa, where Dorothy found out she was pregnant at the age of 39. Jennifer Lynn Miller was born June 12, 1963.

She then lived Evanston and finally Champaign, Illinois where she and her husband spent much of the rest of their lives. They were married for 59 years.

In Champaign, Dorothy ran the girl’s P.E. department at what is now Champaign Central High School. She oversaw 1,200 girls, seven teachers and tried to improve the program through new courses. She eventually earned her Master’s degree and got certified to teach driver’s ed. Even in her 90s, she enjoyed teaching her grandchildren about history, geography and the rules of the road.

Dorothy always belonged to a church and was active in First Presbyterian Church in Champaign for many years. When they retired, she and Walt spent a lot of time traveling in Europe and the United States and spending time with their grandchildren.

Dorothy left an impression on everyone she met — both close friends and those who knew her for a short time. She charmed people with her humor, wit and fun-loving personality and kept them honest with her advice and wisdom. On the weekends and well into her 90s she could be found cheering on the Fighting Illini basketball team on the weekends and taking care of her dogs.

Dorothy is survived by three children, Lisa Wernsing, Scott (Meg) and Jennifer (Jim) Kull and six grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Walter, her parents, three sisters, Helen Bjorkman, Gertrude Barton and Mary Borgers and a grandchild.

A memorial service will be held 1:00 pm Friday, November 30, 2018 at Morgan Funeral Home, Savoy. Interment will be at Woodlawn Cemetery in Urbana. Visitation will be Thursday, November 29, 2018 from 4-7 p.m. at the funeral home. Contributions can be made in Dorothy’s name to the Walter H. Miller Memorial Scholarship at Parkland College.

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