The Rev. Virginia A. Miner, 59, of Blakely, passed away peacefully on Monday morning shortly after 9:30 a.m., Feb. 19, 2018, at Hospice of the Sacred Heart, after a 17-year journey with cancer.
Born in Montrose, Pa., she was the daughter of Robert E. Miner, who died in 2005, and Eleanor (Cobb) Miner, who survives. She attended Montrose Area Junior-Senior High School, where she was a dedicated member of the award-winning Meteors Marching Band. More recently, she also played her trumpet as a proud member of the superb Montrose Alumni Marching Band. She earned her B.A. degree in psychology/sociology/religion from her beloved Wells College in Aurora, N.Y., where she often regaled her friends with a rousing version of reveille in the early morning hours. After attaining her Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, Virginia, she served faithfully and well as a minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) for 33 years.
The Rev. Miner was a gifted messenger of God. While in seminary, Virginia did her field work at First Presbyterian Church in Ithaca, N.Y., as a youth minister, serving there for two years. In 1985, she became the pastor of both the Calvin United Presbyterian Church in Olyphant and First United Presbyterian Church in Peckville. Under the Rev. Miner's steady leadership, the two churches united as one congregation within a newly constructed worship facility. The First United Presbyterian Church of the Lackawanna Valley celebrated joyously its dedication in 2013. Beloved by her congregation, the Rev. Miner gave selflessly and tirelessly in service of others.
In 2016, she began service as the Transitional General Presbyter of the Presbytery of Lackawanna. A compassionate and wise leader, she befriended her colleagues in ministry, always ready to give a word of encouragement or helping hand, especially to young ministers just starting on their journey. She offered guidance and understanding during a time of transition in the Presbytery, a steady captain in changing seas.
The Rev. Miner served as a longtime leader of the Mid-Valley Ministerium, smoothing the path for ecumenical cooperation in the Lackawanna Valley. Her love for children was evidenced in her work at Camp Lackawanna, which spanned nearly 40 years, and encompassed tasks ranging from retreat cook to chairwoman. Always wanting to nurture young people, she taught religion and spirituality as an adjunct professor of theology at Marywood University.
An advocate for social justice, the Rev. Miner traveled to Nicaragua and later to the southwestern border of the United States. These trips affected her deeply, and she became a tireless voice for the poor and disenfranchised throughout her ministry. She also served faithfully as a member of the governing board of Stony Point Center, a Presbyterian conference and retreat center in Stony Point, N.Y.
In 2015, she was honored to be awarded the Gov. Robert P. Casey Medal for a Lifetime of Service by NeighborWorks NEPA. The award acknowledges individuals in the community who have faithfully invested their time and talents to better the quality of life in Northeast Pa.
Virginia loved the Chicago Bears, the beach and the outdoors, especially golfing and in earlier days, skiing. In her quest to visit every state in the country, she checked off 49 of 50 states. A person of great wisdom and intellect, Virginia enjoyed reading and amassed a collection of books over the years.
Most of all, she loved her family and friends, sharing her kindness, generous spirit and sense of humor. The Rev. Virginia Miner was a shining example of what it means to be truly alive, to be genuinely kind and to be a servant to others.
In addition to her mother, she is survived by her sister, attorney Natalie B. Miner, who lives in Central New York; and her brother, attorney James R. Miner, his wife, Dawn Miner, Ph.D., and dearly beloved nephews, Joshua and Nicholas, who reside in Northern Virginia. She is also survived by her closest friend, Margo Tomlinson; and her dog, Callie.
The family is grateful for the tremendous showing of care and support by so many. Calling hours will be held Saturday, March 3, from 4 to 7 p.m. at First United Presbyterian Church of the Lackawanna Valley, Peckville. A memorial service will be held Sunday, March 4, at 4 p.m. at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 550 Madison Ave., Scranton. Funeral arrangements are by the Robert E. Decker Funeral Home, Peckville. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the First United Presbyterian Church of Lackawanna Valley (1557 Main St., Peckville, PA 18452); and to NeighborWorks NEPA (1510 N. Main Ave., Scranton, PA 18508).
Published by Scranton Times from Feb. 21 to Feb. 25, 2018.