A wife of noble character…who can find?…She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family…She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy…a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised (Prov. 31)
For her 100 years, Berniece Miller proved the truth of this scripture. Born humbly in the family farmhouse in Harmony, Illinois on September 21, 1921, fifth child of Ross and Lura Poole, she grew up with her siblings Pauline, Duvall, Irvin, and Joy dedicating her energies to helping on the family farm. She was able to find time to be mischievous, including shortening her father’s life expectancy by once coiling up a length of garden hose and then convincing him there was a snake in the house!
Due to family circumstances, she was only able to attend the White Oak School through the 8th grade, after which she began a varied work life beginning with working at a shoe factory in Mt. Vernon, Illinois and ultimately working at the Marshall Field department store in downtown Chicago.
Her move to Chicago was precipitated by her courtship and marriage to Burton Miller, to whom she was married for 72 years. She and her husband were joined by children Bruce (Carolyn) Miller and Brenna (David) Rickert, and ultimately grandchildren Timothy (Amie) Rickert, Keith (Jen) Miller, Michael (Tanya) Rickert, Nathan Miller, Matthew (Sarah Beth) Rickert, Seth (Becki) Miller, Faith (Duc) Pham and Bethany Miller. At the time of her passing she had, and very much enjoyed, 13 great-grandchildren. Her love of, and devotion to, her grandchildren was constant throughout her life, despite the fact that she once tripped over one of the young grandchildren and broke her hip.
Like the virtuous woman in Proverbs, Berniece dedicated her life to the service of others. She faithfully cared for her parents during their lives, was always ready to clean her children, grandchildren and their homes, taught Sunday School, made countless meals, shopping trips, and provided transportation and care to shut ins and anyone else in need. Despite living in a small house in Chicago, she provided free room and board to anyone who needed to be housed and (amply) fed. Her only real dislikes in life were mice and receiving any personal recognition for the limitless acts of kindness and service that defined her life.
Berniece’s service in this life came to a peaceful end on March 11, 2022. Her life will be celebrated at a funeral service at the Osborn Funeral Home, 322 N. Main St., Dix, Illinois on Saturday, March 19. Visitation will begin at 12:00 noon and the funeral service will be at 1:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to support the missional work of one of Berniece’s grandsons with Wycliffe Bible Translators. Please send a separate note stating “preference for the Wycliffe ministry of the Rickerts/228375”.