"Call Grandmom!" That is what my girls, Holly and Laura, and I said when we needed prayer. My mom was a prayer warrior. She loved Jesus and truly believed Matthew 7:7. "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." She went home to meet the One who answered her prayers on Wednesday night, January 17. I want to honor my mom's life of 100 years and eight months with memories.
You could probably call my mom's ancestors pioneers as they were established in Pennsylvania prior to the Revolutionary War and helped fund a regiment of George Washington's army. English, German, and Irish blood ran through her veins. It is fitting that my mom's parents met at a Brethren Church in Philadelphia. They were a prosperous and generous couple until mom's dad died when she was seven years old. This life event threw my mom, her older brother, and my grandmother into poverty. Even though my grandmother went to work, the family was dependent on assistance from friends at their church. Spam (process meat) was frequently on the menu, and hand-me-down clothes were worn. But these "momentary troubles" did not overcome this hopeful family. My mom was blessed with a high IQ and graduated from Abington Highschool with honors. After attending Peirce School of Business, she worked as the secretary to the President of Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company. Later she became the secretary to the Superintendent of Schools at Abington School District. She was recognized for her attention to detail in every endeavor she accomplished and closed out her career as a proofreader of legal advertising for the Montgomery Newspapers. Even recently she was proofreading the programs for the chaplain at the community where she lived.
I will be eternally grateful to my parents for the firm foundation they established for our family by raising us in a Christ-centered atmosphere. My brother, Arthur, and sister, Mary Lou, and I, Joan, were secure in the love they poured on us. Mom and Dad were active members of the First Baptist Church of Glenside where mom taught Sunday School, sang in the choir, and was active in Women's Fellowship. She was an officer of the Glenside-Weldon PTA and volunteered with Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts. Most importantly, she was a faithful wife to her husband, Ken Miller, and loving mother of her children.
It is my fondest memories of Mom that will sustain me in the future. She was always there for us in a multitude of ways, and the environment in our home helped us prosper. We could count on a nightly family dinner, complete with dessert. We talked about our days around the family table. We expected my dad to greet every person that came to church on Sunday and would eventually hear Mom's warning as we waited to go home: "Ken, the roast is going to burn!" Mom and Dad led by example, being kind and generous to anyone in need. My mom's intellect served her well when she was helping us with homework or as she taught Bible studies. Our family vacations to Stone Harbor, NJ, were something we anticipated yearly. Our shore adventures were fun and memorable. One of our biggest family treats was our visit to the SPCA to get a puppy. Frisky, our puppy, came home with a virus. Mom nursed him back to health with her homemade chicken broth.
Twenty-eight years ago, my parents moved to an Acts Community for senior living called Springhouse Estates where they participated in many of the activities provided. Mom was known for her sharp mind up until her death. She was also noticed for the stylish way in which she dressed and had a collection of shoes that would be the envy of any fashion designer. Mom was organized to a fault, and we discovered that she wrote her own obituary. She also left us some writings that she would like us to read at our family gathering to remember her. They include The Lord's Prayer, Psalm 23, and a poem written by Ellen Brenneman called "His Journey's Just Begun." In part, it says, "Don't think of him as gone away. His journey's just begun. Life holds so many facets; this earth is only one...And think of him as living in the hearts of those he touched...for nothing loved is ever lost and he was loved so much."
My family received a gift from God in that we were able to celebrate 100 years of a life well lived with Mom on May 18, 2023. Her two great grandsons, Jack and Ben, joined the party. For them and all of us, she left a magnificent legacy. May we also leave an exceptional legacy for those who will follow us.
Joan E. Mathias