Gloria B. Miller, 79, dies

Gloria B. Miller peacefully passed away in his home on Burntside Lake on Thursday, June 5, 2014 with her family at her side. Born in Harrisburg, PA in 1934, she spent most of her younger years in Drexel Hills, Pennsylvania.
Gloria met her husband, William, while he was singing in the Princeton Seminary choir at her home church in Drexel Hill, PA. It was love at first sight and they were married a year later on December 19, 1953 in the same church. They moved to Florida where their two oldest were born, then moved to Cedar Grove, NJ, where their two youngest were born.
Gloria attended the Florida Southern College and Montclair State College. Her strong belief in the value of formal education gave her foresight to not only to make provisions for her children, but also to establish trust accounts for her five grandchildren to help enable them to attend college.
Gloria’s involvement in the church increased as her husband became the pastor for various churches in Florida and moved into a job at national office of the Presbyterian Church. Once the children were of an age to be more self-sufficient, she started working at the national office. She was the staff resource person for the Mission Funding Unit and often traveled across the country giving speeches regarding missions in various churches, presbyteries and synods. Even after she retired from her position at the national church he and her husband continued to do extensive mission interpretation in several states speaking as many as 225 times in one year. She was also very active in the local church, serving as an Elder and participating in the choir.
As the mother of four children she was also had heavy volunteer involvement with the P.T.A., and numerous leadership roles with the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and youth groups. Her dedication to making sure that her children had access to a variety of experiences enabled her to provide the same for hundreds of other children. Family canoe trips and camping trips often included entire troops of children. Her unselfish and generous involvement touched the lives and hearts of many a child. And it was not uncommon even after her children grew and moved away that their circle of friends continued to drop in to visit.
Gloria and Bill continued their strong love of helping and working with others after retirement. They moved to the Ely, MN. Starting in 1988, they volunteered thousands of hours to create and direct more activities at the finish line of the Wilderness Trek Ski race and started the Voyageurs Winter Festival. Their focus was on expanding it to a three-day weekend promoting outdoor activities and education about the history of the Ely, Minnesota area. After visiting the Fur Rendezvous with their daughter Cathy in Alaska, Gloria and Bill and their army of volunteers organized a Snow Sculpting Symposium in concert with an expanded 10-day festival surrounding the Wilderness Trek and featuring the Voyageur historical aspect of the area. Gloria was also very involved in the Ely Weavers guild, the Heart of the Woods Quilters guild, Kiwanis, and the PEO. She was a strong supporter of arts in Ely, rarely missing any of the concerts or art events.
She is survived by her sister, Doris Plager; her children: William (Deb) Miller of Ely, Catherine (Ray) Williams of Lebam, WA, Ellen (Rick) Pierce of Embarrass, and Mark (Li-Chen) Miller of Kirkland, WA; her grandchildren: Ben (Bridget) Miller, Katie Miller, Jennifer Covell, Michael (Kori) Pierce, Katie (Jesse) Murray; and her 4 great grandchildren Jesse Covell, Chase and Brylen Pierce, and William Murray.
She will be remembered by the thousands of people whose lives she has touched.Memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 11, 2014, at the Woodland Presbyterian Church in Babbitt.