Although she enjoyed a great many things, there was nothing that was more near and dear to the heart of Margaret Miller than being with the ones she loved. She was outgoing and honest with a warm and inviting demeanor that drew others near with ease. Marge was a devoted mother, and when grandchildren arrived later in life she couldn’t have been happier. With a life that spanned times of great change in the world around her, she created a timeless collection of memories that will remain a lasting treasure in the hearts and lives of all who were blessed to know and love her.
The year 1941 is often remembered as the year of the violent attack on our naval base in Pearl Harbor on December 7th. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was left with no choice but to engage in WWII the following day. Countless young servicemen and women were sent overseas while manufacturing stateside was focused on supporting the war effort and rationing on common goods was strictly enforced. It was just prior to this historic day that a young couple from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was delighted with the birth of their baby girl on March 13th. Welcomed into the world by her parents, Carl Swanson and Margaret (Zonza) Irving, Margaret Louise was raised in the family home in her grandparents’ apartment building alongside her siblings. Her parents had a little bit to sort out when they discovered that the hospital had listed her last name as Swanson on her birth certificate in error.
In many ways Marge experienced an upbringing that was reflective of the times. She learned how to cook from her Aunt Millie, with whom she also enjoyed going to the beach, and she often watched her Uncle Andy work out in his garden. Marge attended St. Hedwig’s Catholic Church School. Marge’s high school years found her at Riverside High School, and she also worked part-time at a local fruit market at the age of 15.
Life was forever changed for Marge when she met a man who caught her attention. It was while working at First Wisconsin Bank that her eyes first met the eyes of this intriguing young man, Dennis Miller. During this time Marge also met Sharon Wiliski who would become a lifelong friend. Marge did take some college classes although she never graduated. Deeply in love, Marge and Dennis were married. Together they were blessed with the births of two sons, Steve and Greg. Although her marriage later ended, Marge was forever grateful for the sons she deeply loved and she always counted Dennis among her good friends.
Not only did Marge care for her family, but she also kept busy in other ways. She spent several years working at Gimbels Department Store where she eventually became the director of the credit operations. Christmas was a special time of year as she liked singing Christmas songs and making Christmas cookies. Although she was not a big traveler, she did take two memorable trips including one to California in addition to a trip to London where they had dinner with Princess Diana’s parents at Althorp in addition to going to Wimbledon. Marge loved to sew and was known to hang out at the fabric store, too. Around the house she kept busy playing board games, and Marge was an avid reader who loved reading mysteries and magazines. While reading The Exorcist, she got just a little freaked out and needed to sleep with all the lights on in the house! When it came to music Marge preferred softer music such as music from Barry Manilow and Neil Diamond, but it was quite an experience when she attended a KISS concert with her son, Steve. She watched the Packers, but only because the remote had gotten wedged between the cushions in her chair. Always a pet lover, Marge and the boys weren’t often without a dog. Greg’s parrot, Edgar, was one of her favorites even though Edgar would say “you’re a bird” when she told him he was a good bird and he would often steal her Doritos. Marge’s first question would be to ask how the grandchildren or animals were doing when calling her boys. Later in life when grandchildren arrived Marge was thrilled, and spending time with them became a favorite pastime right away. One of her favorite things to do with her grandchildren was to watch Scooby Doo movies.
A stranger to none and a friend to all, Margaret Miller was a blessing in every way. She loved meeting new people and going out with her friends, and she was so much fun to be around. Marge was never one to worry about building wealth, rather, she set about fully embracing every day she was given. She will be deeply missed and forever remembered.
Margaret “Marge” Miller died on July 9, 2014. Marge’s family includes her sons, Steve (Jill) and Greg (Paul O’Neil) Miller; grandchildren, Ryan and Amanda; and other relatives and many friends, including: her former husband, Dennis (the late Karen) Miller; dear friends, Sharon and David Wilinski; and sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Barbara and Deane Miller. Family and friends will gather at Wisconsin Memorial Park, Chapel of the Chimes, 13235 W. Capitol Dr. Brookfield on Thursday, July 17, 2014, from 11:00 a.m. until the time of the Memorial Service at 1:00 p.m.