Ruth G. Miller, 85, long-time summer resident of West Tisbury, died peacefully in Hospice on September 19, 2010. A family service was held September 21 in Winnetka, Illinois, to honor Ruth’s life. She had resided at Bethany Terrace Nursing Centre in Morton Grove, Ill., for almost two years. Ruth was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 63 years, Harold A. Miller, who died on June 15 of this year.
Ruth and her husband, Hal, brought their young family to the Vineyard in the early 1950s, renting for several summers on Gay Head. They purchased the Nancy Luce place in West Tisbury in 1955, and for several decades they enjoyed the beauty of the Vineyard and supported many of its community and conservation organizations. Ruth made their home in West Tisbury a haven for rest and happy family gatherings, building on the natural beauty of their property with her carefully nurtured gardens, shrubbery, and trees.
Born in McKeesport, Penn., Ruth was the daughter of Alfred and Minnie Geitz. Ruth attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where she met her husband, Hal Miller, who had returned to campus after his service in the Navy to be a director of Antioch’s co-op program. Throughout their marriage, Ruth and Hal were active alums of Antioch, whose mission of a liberal arts education wedded with the innovative “work-study” model was something that they believed in deeply. Trained as an accountant, Ruth served as treasurer for many of the organizations she volunteered for during her life. In the 1970s, Ruth worked as bookkeeper for the Family Service Center in Wilmette, Ill., and she volunteered as cashier at the gift shop of the Botanic Gardens of Chicago. Ruth and Hal volunteered at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) of which they were long-time contributors and patrons.
Ruth was an accomplished classical pianist and lover of beauty, active in gardening and painting at the family summer home in West Tisbury. Ruth sought ways to be involved and contribute to the Vineyard community, and she also enjoyed her friendships through the Martha’s Vineyard Garden Club and her volunteer work for the Martha’s Vineyard Historical Society. Ruth and Hal were long-time supporters of the Vineyard Conservation Society and Sheriff’s Meadow, two local organizations that work to protect Vineyard open lands from development.
For over 40 years, Ruth and Hal lived in Winnetka, Ill., where they were both active in the Winnetka Congregational Church. Ruth served in many roles with the Woman’s Society at the Winnetka Congregational Church, including as a member of the Benevolence Committee. While raising her family in Winnetka, Ruth also served on The League of Women Voters, and on the Winnetka Caucus. Ruth enjoyed volunteering at the Presbyterian Homes in Evanston, visiting with residents, working in the gift shop and library, and serving on the Women’s Board of Presbyterian Homes. She enjoyed greatly her friendships from her various volunteer activities, and she was respected widely for her clear thinking and other outstanding qualities of leadership.
Ruth is survived by her children, Douglas Miller, Mark Miller (Barbara M. Benedict), and Christina Miller Greulich (Peter), and her grandchildren Evan Miller Greulich and Amy Christina Greulich. Condolences may be sent to Ruth’s daughter, Christina Greulich of Northbrook, Ill., or to Ruth’s son, Mark Miller, P.O. Box 663, West Tisbury, MA 02575.
Donations in Ruth’s memory may be made to a Vineyard community or conservation organization of one’s choice.