Cathy Miller
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Cathy Miller

Des Moines -

Mary Catherine Miller passed away on January 14, 2019, at Scottish Rite Park in Des Moines. No services will be held at this time.

Cathy was born in Bonner Springs, Kansas, at that time "just a wide place in the road" west of Kansas City. Her father was killed in an industrial accident when Cathy was not quite 4 years old. She and her mother moved to Kansas City, Kansas, in time for Cathy to attend school there.

Cathy always loved to draw and she took every available art class. After graduating from Wyandotte High School in 1945, Cathy entered the Kansas City Art Institute in Kansas City, Missouri, where she specialized in fashion illustration. During her junior year, she met an ex-GI who'd transferred from The University of Kansas. His name was Frank Miller, and he'd been a student of Karl Mattern, until Karl moved to Drake University. Cathy and Frank began dating.

In 1949 Cathy graduated from the Art Institute and went to work as a fashion illustrator in the art department of Harzfeld's, a prestigious Kansas City department store. Frank went to work for the Kansas City Star. By Christmas of 1950, they were engaged, planning to marry in May.

Frank's and Cathy's careers evolved. Frank became The Register's political cartoonist and won a Pulitzer Prize on May 6, 1963. Cathy took a class in batik and stepped into a whole new realm of art. In later years, when she and Frank vacationed each winter on Sanibel Island, they were in friendly competition - he sold his watercolors at The Schoolhouse Gallery and she sold her batiks at The Art Fac. Cathy lovingly encouraged both daughters in their art careers.

In 1974 they took up sailing, a family hobby that became a passion for the rest of their lives. Frank died suddenly in 1983. Cathy stayed in their condo at The Park at Southern Hills before moving to Scottish Rite Park.

Cathy is survived by Melissa Miller (Mark Zbieroski) of Des Moines, IA Mindy Miller (John Panjaitan) of Glenwood Springs, CO a grandson, Avery Joel Zbieroski (Sarah Jedd) of Denver, CO

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in the Des Moines Register on Jan. 20, 2019.
Memories & Condolences
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8 entries
January 14, 2021
Missing this great friend and her precise observations about life. Such a fine person.
barbara Miller
January 23, 2019

Cathy was a treasured friend. She was a remarkable, honest, unpretentious and decent person who also just happened to know how to do a million things well, including sharing a good laugh. I'm grateful to have known her.
barbara miller
January 23, 2019
barbara miller
January 22, 2019
May the God of all comfort sustain your family during the days ahead Psalms 119:76
January 20, 2019
Being a good person is an art, which rhymes with heart ❤. The Miller family creates art with heart. Cathy earned her own Pulitzer of life.
Rand Witke
January 20, 2019
My blessings of peace, love, and a forever in my heart. To my best and dearest friend Mindy Miller, I love you. You are in my heart, soul, and prayers during this spiritual time with the passing of your mom, such a beautiful lady. Min, you have always been my strong side when I crumbled a few times. I love you dearly. God bless...
January 20, 2019
My late husband, Walt, knew both Cathy and Frank quite well and he worked with Frank at the Des Moines Register & Tribune during its glory years. He also shared their passion for sailing. After Frank's death, Walt obtained their 22' Venture named Jacana (after a bird that liked to stand on one leg on lily pads). Walt and I loved the boat and spent many, many weekends sailing it on Saylorville Lake. I treasure those memories. I am also blessed to have a watercolor painting Frank did showing Cathy painting in nature. She was an excellent artist as was Frank. Both Frank and Cathy are missed. Hugs to their daughters and families.
Mary Shotwell
January 18, 2019
My sincere condolences to the family and friends. May the God of all consolation give you comfort hope and peace during this time of sorrow. Jeremiah 29:11,12
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