Jean Arlene MillerAugust 26, 1922 ~ December 16, 2017 (age 95)
Castleton, NY - Jean Arlene Miller, 95, died peacefully on December 16, 2017 at the Hospice Inn at St. Peter's, surrounded by family and friends.
Jean was born to Samuel and Mabel Miller on Fertile Valley Farm in the town of Brunswick, NY on August 26, 1922. Along with her brother Warren, she attended the George Washington Grammar School and Troy High School. Jean then went on to earn both her bachelor's and master's degrees from the State University at Oneonta.
In 1945, Jean began a 35 year career as a kindergarten teacher for the East Greenbush Central School District (Red Mill School). Jean absolutely loved teaching, often saying that from the moment she walked into her classroom in the morning it was like being in heaven. The experience was equally as special for many of her students, as it was not unusual for someone to walk up to Jean even when she was in her 90s and say "Miss Miller? You were my kindergarten teacher!" And as one of her former pupils once said, "I never knew what it felt like to be truly loved until I walked into Miss Miller's classroom".
Jean's love of children extended far beyond her career. As an active member of the First United Presbyterian Church in Troy, Jean is the last survivor of a group of 5 former schoolteachers who would sit together in a pew surrounded by stuffed animals and children during the Sunday services.
As much as Jean loved children, she loved animals as well. A pet owner herself for many years, during the 1950s Jean was known for welcoming a dog into her classroom each day. This was such a novel concept at the time that it earned the dog not only a television appearance but a Humane Society award as well.
Along with her parents and brother, Jean was predeceased by her companion of many years, Lena Mann, her dogs Soochi, Josh, Jessie and Chris, and her cat Cori. She is survived by Lena's nieces, Shirley Stockman of Castleton, Rita (Russell) Reickert of Castleton, May Frazee of Buxton, ME, and Eileen Hempstead of North Greenbush, along with Lena's grandnephew, Steven Stockman of Weston, CT; grandniece, Sandra Kosina of Liverpool, NY, and many other grandnieces and nephews. Survivors also include many dear friends from Jean's church and community, including Bob and Carol Harrington, Brenda and Mark Westbrook, John and Jane Husson, Trudi Wybourn, Bonnie McCaig, Marsha Mintz-Botsford and Shirley Hinkamp, Reverend Alexandra Lusak, John and Betsy Belle Eadie and family, Reverend Jacqueline and the late Ronald Pinkowski, Reverend Gusti L. Newquist, Trudy Simmons, Paula Melnick, and her cats Luk and Lucy.
Those who had the privilege of knowing Jean will remember her tremendous love of children, animals, good food and friends, the thoughtfulness and generosity she shared with all those she met, and of course her hugs. Especially her hugs.
Friends are invited to attend graveside services on Thursday, December 21 at 1:30 pm at Elmwood Hill Cemetery, 51 Belle Ave., Troy.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in memory of Jean to the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society, the First United Presbyterian Church in Troy, or Castleton Volunteer Ambulance.
Mohawk and Hudson River Humane Society
3 Oakland Avenue, Menands NY 12204
First United Presbyterian Church of Troy
1915 Fifth Avenue, Troy NY 1280
Castleton Vlounteer Ambulance
1700 Brookview Rd, Castleton-On-Hudson NY 12033