Saturday, October 22, 2016

Good-bye Margaret

Molly and Margaret 2012
My big sister, Margaret, died last Sunday, October 16, 2016. Her death is a profound loss not only to her family and friends but to the entire planet. From a very early age, Margaret was a talented young girl. Like our father, Byron, she demonstrated proficiency at art. She won prizes for her pictures. One of her pictures from high school was used as an ad on the Fort Wayne city buses. Additionally, she was an excellent student. I believe that she was placed in a reading class above her grade level.

As a young girl, Margaret demonstrated athletic ability. I can remember Margaret playing baseball with some boys in an empty lot near our home. Even at one point, Margaret aspired to be a professional baseball player on Fort Wayne's home team, the Daisies. But alas, the Daisies last game was in 1954.

One of Margaret's other athletic talent was ballet. She took lessons at the Fort Wayne Ballet. I remember one of her performances as Buttercup in the H.M.S. Pinafore. At one point, she planned to be a ballerina; however, she was quite tall and thought that her stature might inhibit her success as a ballerina. Even though, ballet was not her professional field. She did dance for many years as an adult.

In high school, Margaret kept quite busy. She was president of her high school sorority. She was in the National Honor Society, was active in Speech and Debate, performed with the Ripplettes, an aquatic ballet team, and worked in an award winning division of Junior Achievement. Upon graduation, Margaret was the Class Poet. As a special honor in the Fort Wayne schools, Margaret was selected as the top senior English student having her name etched on the North Side High School English Cup.

After high school, Margaret went to the Indiana University Medical Center to study nursing. After graduating with the a baccalaureate degree in nursing, she worked at Riley Children's Hospital as a psychiatric nurse. This was the beginning of a long career as a nurse. She did earn two masters degrees and a doctorate. For many years, she taught nursing classes at various institutions ending her long career at Bellarmine University.

Although a busy professional, Margaret was a kind and thoughtful family member.  She was married to Jerry Dean Miller for 54 years. Margaret and Jerry are parents to a wonderful, compassionate daughter, Cynthia Louise and grandparents to two handsome, brilliant grandsons, Joshua and Nicholas.

When Margaret's parents, who had retired to Naples, Florida, became too ill to remain in their own home, Margaret, the loving daughter, insisted that Mom and Dad move to Louisville. During our parents stay in Louisville, Margaret was their advocate and friend. She kept them company and ran various errands for our parents while working.

My sister was also active in other ways. For many years, she was a Girl Scout leader and served as the president of the Kentuckiana Girl Scouts. In addition to being a nurse and professor, Margaret was president of the Kentucky Nursing Association. In this position, she was instrumental in a law that promoted the career of nurse practitioner.

During her adult life, Margaret was also quite active in the Episcopal Church. One of the ways she served the church was serving as a camp nurse. In addition to regular nursing duties,  she taught classes at camp. She also went on a mission trip to Honduras with daughter Cyndi and grandson Josh.

My sisters and I sometimes joked about who was the tallest. In reality, we were probably of equal height, but Margaret's active life did make her seem mighty tall. She has certainly cast long shadow.  Although Margaret is no longer with us in body, her life has made an impact in so many ways on so many people. Good-bye sweet sister, I love you.