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Beardsley-Mitchell Funeral Home
1818 Sunset Cliffs Blvd
San Diego, CA 92107
(619) 223-8100
Memorial service
Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020
10:30 AM
St. Peter’s by-the- Sea Lutheran Church
1371 Sunset Cliffs Blvd.
San Diego, CA
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Mary Elizabeth Miller


1917 - 2019
Mary Elizabeth Miller Obituary
Mary Elizabeth Miller April 13, 1917 - December 27, 2019 Ocean Beach / Point Loma Mary Elizabeth Miller, age 102, passed away tranquilly at home with her loving son, Fletcher, and devoted daughter-in-law, Jane, by her side, after a week on hospice.Mary was born on her lucky day, Friday the 13th, April 1917, in Fargo, ND, to recent Norwegian immigrants Johannes and Ida Mickelson. She was the younger sister to Esther, born in 1915. Mary graduated from Fargo Central High and married Robert Miller on New Year's Eve, 1937.They moved to Wichita, KS, where Bob worked in the aircraft industry, while Mary worked as secretary to the Director of the Office of Civilian Defense. In 1943, Bob enlisted in the Marine Corps and was sent to San Diego. Mary worked at Consolidated Aircraft while Robert was in the Philippines and occupied China.After the aircraft factory, Mary worked as Secretary-Hostess for the Lutheran Service Center downtown, where she helped countless young men in the armed forces, a job she relished according to a Union-Tribune article covering her surprise reason for leaving.In 1960, after 23 years of marriage, Bob and Mary's life was surprisingly, but pleasantly, turned upside down by the arrival of a son, Fletcher. They built a house in Ocean Beach to accommodate the new arrival. Mary resided in that home for the rest of her life, 57 more years. Neighbors and a sense of community were very important to Mary, and she was blessed with many caring neighbors.The family joined St. Peter's by-the-Sea Lutheran Church in Ocean Beach. Mary sang in the choir, helped organize various functions, and was an active "church mouse" for decades. St. Peter's became a loving home for her, especially after the passing of her own mother and husband, and the departure of her son for college and work out-of-state.In 1972, Mary reentered the workforce at CalTrans for the next 10 years. She not only was caring for her own mother and son and maintaining the household, but she was also the primary breadwinner. When Fletcher graduated from college in 1982, Mary decided she should graduate into retirement.After her mother and husband passed, Mary lived alone for 22 years, during which time she became active in many organizations. She was an original member of the Spreckel's Organ Society and loved going to Balboa Park after church to hear the organ concert. Mary was very proud of her Norwegian heritage and was a member of the House of Norway in Balboa Park. Mary also volunteered at the Lutheran Thrift Store, Seek'n Find, for many years.Mom continued the traveling tradition after Bob's passing, making three trips to Norway, where she met relatives and toured the country from bottom to top. She especially enjoyed visiting Cleveland, OH, where Fletcher worked for NASA for 16 years.During the last dozen years, Fletcher and Jane lived with Mary. Mary slowed down very gradually (she is pictured here at age 98), and enjoyed having others take on household duties. The last six years, she was assisted by wonderful caregivers from Senior Helpers. Mary leaves us many fond memories and has passed on to us many lessons. The Great Depression taught her that one should not waste anything and that one does not need a lot of possessions to be happy. Exercise was not something Mary believed in; she put her effort into work. She often credited her long life to hanging clothes on the line each day or working in the yard. Mary relished making salads long before they were hip, but she also made sure to have a dessert with each meal.Mary is survived by a son, Fletcher; daughter-in-law, Jane Manderscheid; nephew, Robert Randall of Monrovia, CA, and his family, and many relatives in the US and Norway. There will be a Memorial Service on Saturday, February 1, at 10:30 AM, at St. Peter's by-the-Sea Lutheran Church, 1371 Sunset Cliffs Blvd., San Diego, CA, 92107, followed by a luncheon reception. The funeral arrangements are being conducted by Beardsley-Mitchell Funeral Home; please see their web site for a longer tribute to Mary's life and more pictures (https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/san-diego-ca/mary-miller-8980661). Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to St. Peter's by-the-Sea Lutheran Church or to the Spreckel's Organ Society in Balboa Park.
Published in The San Diego Union Tribune on Jan. 12, 2020
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