Phyllis Jeanne (Key) Miller, 94 died Sunday, July 12, 2020 at Home Again, Assisted Living in Waunakee, WI. Memorial Services will be held on Sept. 5, 2020 10:30 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Windom, MN. (Masks and social distancing will occur) Internment will be in Windom.
Phyllis was born April 8, 1926 in Tracy, MN to George Lee Key and Laura Mae (Snedigar) Key. She graduated from Tracy High School in 1944 where she played the French horn and sang in the church choir. She attended one year of Junior College in Tracy. She saw many changes in her lifetime, growing up with an outhouse, helping her parents in their 100’x100’ garden to feed a big family. She and her brother Bob (Robert) got to “ride the rails” as children because their dad was a railroad engineer. She was a child during the Great Depression in the 1920’s. She was proud of working for JC Penney (“she did every job in the store”) in the 1940’s and had met John Cash Penney. Phyllis was united in marriage to Francis A. (Jim) Miller at the First Presbyterian Church in Tracy, MN on March 3, 1953. She operated the PhylJeanne Gift Shop combined with Miller’s Shoe Store in Windom. After the kids came along, she raised the kids while Jim operated the shoe store. Our Dad always told us “Marrying your mother was the best thing I ever did for you kids!” (He was right). She was a long time member of the Windom, First Presbyterian Church and served in many roles within the church. Music was a big part of her life and church choir was a good outlet. She was also a long time member of PEO (an organization that promotes education for women) and was a member for over 60 years. She had many roles within PEO both locally and then through the state of Minnesota. One of her proudest accomplishments was becoming MN State President for PEO. Through those years, she had many friends and sisters both within Windom and then statewide. She viewed PEO as the “best thing that had happened to me”. When she moved to Wisconsin to be near her daughters, she also was part of a new Chapter in Wisconsin. PEO allowed her to meet many more people and travel places that she wouldn’t have otherwise done. She visited Cottey College several times.
She enjoyed many games of bridge, bowling, golf, supper club, gardening, playing the piano and living by the Des Moines River. Although she moved to Wisconsin to be near family, she really missed Windom, her friends and her church. She was an avid reader until her macular degeneration progressed to the point it was no longer possible.
Phyllis was a cancer survivor of 30 years. The cancer in her jaw was destroyed, but it left her with a different lifestyle. She faced the change with grace and dignity. She always responded “What else can I do, I just need to keep going”.
She is survived by her three children, Ann Miller Holman (Todd Holman) of Middleton, WI, Tom (Pam) Miller of Gilbert, AZ and Jenny Miller, Fox Lake, WI. She had six grandchildren, Jay, Krista and Ty (Caylee) Miller. Dalton Miller-Jackson, Katie Miller and Madeline Holman. Sister-in-Law, Audrey Key of Mankato. She had many nieces and nephews that she treasured as she was from a big family. She was preceded in death by her husband F. A. “ Jim” Miller, her parents and all of her 10 siblings.
“How lucky is heaven to have an angel like Phyllis”. We are glad she is at home and at peace.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Cottonwood County Historical Society or PEO.
Luncheon will be served at River City Eatery in Windom after the service.
Condolences can be shared with the family: Ann Miller Holman, 1202 Muirfield Ct., Middleton, WI 53562 (firstname.lastname@example.org)