Millie Anna Biela, beloved mother, sister, and cherished friend, died quietly in her home in Klamath Falls on Jan. 30, 2013, surrounded by loved ones.
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Her life, cut short just two days before her 63rd birthday, was filled with family, friends and rescued animals. Her universe was expansive; she always had room in her heart for one more friendship, one more stray cat and one more addition to an already extended family.
She worked hard for everything she had and always found time for conversation, sunsets, a morning walk, bird songs, coffee and the newspaper, fresh flowers, and a game of scrabble with an unsuspecting challenger.
Millie could turn any four walls anywhere into a comfortable home; a safe haven. She could transform a plot of dirt into a bountiful garden and convert strangers into friends and unwanted cats and dogs into pampered pets. She countered struggle and adversity by surrounding herself with the things and people she loved. She was always "at home" and, if you were with her, you were home, too.
Born in Kermit, Texas, to Chester and Frances Biela, she was the oldest of two girls. She grew up in Texas, Chicago, Ill., and Southern California. She married Joe Davis in 1971 in Havre, Mont., where they raised three beautiful daughters.
Millie was predeceased by her parents and second husband Ron Winn. It was because of Ron, the "love of her life," that she settled in Klamath Falls in 1999.
She leaves her three daughters Heather (Scott Row) Davis, Anya (Kip) McCabe and Erinn (Matt) White; "Papa" Joe Davis; sister Jan Biela; dear friend and fellow traveler Chuck Jones; and best friend for 48 years Tina Thompson. She is also survived by her step-sons Zak (Heather) and Zaaron (Autumn) Winn; grandchildren Shaelei Row, Tyler and Eric Harrison, Matthew, Zak Jr., Payton, Rhian, and Logan and Keira Winn; mother-in-law Paula Winn; sister-in-law Sandy Mills; and a multitude of friends too numerous to list, although, if it were up to Millie, every one of them would be acknowledged here.
Before packing up her daughters for a trip to California, arranging pet sitting for a whirlwind excursion to France, spending scarce resources to visit with family in Chicago, exploring a national park with friends, enjoying a long weekend at the coast or taking time to teach her granddaughter Shaelei the names of flowers, Millie would always explain that "Life's too short."
"Life's too damn short," she'd say.
And she was right. Millie's life was way too short.
Donations in Millie's honor can be made to High Desert Hospice, Friends of Pets or Klamath Animal Shelter.
Published in Herald And News on Feb. 21, 2013