Obituary: Margaret Smith Miller
Beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, teacher, traveler
On Wednesday, July 31, Margaret Smith Miller, beloved mother to five, grandmother to 13, and great-grandmother to 24 children, died at the age of 93 in Bountiful, Utah.
Margaret was born on March 13, 1926 in Nephi, Utah. The daughter of Calvin Schwartz and Ethel Lucile Smith, she was one of 13 children. Two sisters, Helen Rabe of Ogden, and Claudia Landro of Salt Lake City, survive her.
She was proud of her Smith heritage and accomplishments of her talented, loving and close-knit family. Always an excellent student, Margaret received her bachelor’s degree at the University of Utah. There she met and later married her husband, Leon Miller, on December 15, 1947.
Together they built a home in Bountiful with their own hands, Ms. Miller laying bricks and tile, planting gardens, and assisting Mr. Miller as he designed every bit of the home, installing plumbing, electrical work, and completing all the masonry work himself. In 1957 they moved their family to Claremont, and raised three daughters and two sons.
She continued her education, completing a master’s degree at California State University, Los Angeles. She taught both English and French to high school students for 22 years in the Chino Unified School District. Following retirement, she returned to her home state of Utah in 2009 to be near her extended family.
She had a passion for her family and for adventure. She loved to travel and hosted family cruises to the Caribbean, several ports in Europe, the northeast and Canada. She perfected her French language by immersing herself in the culture while living with local French residents during the summer months, and continued to read literature in French until the day she died.
She was an avid writer of prose and poetry and blessed all her progeny with witty, lyrical, delightful poems nuanced especially for them, her family shared.
“Her volumes of poems are a treasured reminder to all she loved of her keen intuition, humor, wit and sense of fun,” they said.
She loved to play classical music on the piano and listen to the musical accomplishments of her children and grandchildren. A favorite activity was to sit side by side with a child to read with him or her. She always modeled, encouraged, and supported the pursuit of an excellent education and the ability to make sound, reasonable decisions.
A widow for 43 years, Ms. Miller was the undeniable matriarch and hub of her family. “She was helpful, concerned, brave, kind, fun, quick to smile, and had the spirit of a champion,” they said. “Her indomitable influence on the lives of others will long continue.
Even in her final uncomfortable months, she charmed all she met with her love of life, positive attitude and ability to make people laugh. The tributes that have poured in from friends and family have attested to her spunky personality and undeniable talents.”
She is survived by her adoring children and spouses, who were welcomed into the family as her own: Susan, Steven (Jackie Burggraf), David (Karen Roberts), Melinda (Sherman Early), and Kathryn (Kim) (Tory Friddle).
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Ms. Miller’s name to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at cff.org, or the American Heart Association at heart.org/en, which she supported in love of family members.
To honor her devotion to her family, her greatest joy, a family celebration of life has been planned for Saturday, September 21.