JANET MARGARET MILLER
July 2, 1924 – January 28, 2020
With heavy hearts, we announce Janet’s passing after a brief stay at Deer Lodge Hospital at the age of 95 years.
She is survived by her son Brent (Pat); daughter Janice (Dave); grandchildren Steve (Jett), Alex (Katie), Tom (Brenna) and Lisa; great-grandchildren Jake, Molly, Ryerson, and Rome. Janet was predeceased by her husband George in 1986.
Although born in Winnipeg, Janet grew up in Hartney, Manitoba, where she attended elementary and high school. Janet was musically inclined and played in the Hartney high school band. She had very fond memories of her life and the people in Hartney especially events like the annual Hartney Hopper Days and her lifelong friend Marvel.
After high school, Janet worked at the Hartney Drug Store in the pharmacy. Also, for extra money, she played the piano in an orchestra called the Blue Jackets as well as the Sunset Serenaders. Janet was a gifted pianist who “played by ear”.
In order to get from town to town or to Brandon or Winnipeg from Hartney, the best mode of transportation was usually the Greyhound bus. On these trips was how she met George, her future husband of 38 years. George, a WWII veteran, was a Greyhound bus driver. George and Janet were married on December 29, 1948 at St. Andrew's Anglican Church in Hartney.
George and Janet were 1950 flood victims in Winnipeg (St. Vital), Manitoba before they moved to St. James. Once settled in their new house and as their children grew up, Janet volunteered in the community bringing music and cheer to all ages. Janet was the pianist for various senior homes, schools, church services, sing songs, Remembrance Day services, St. James Anglican Church Sunday School, Bourkevale Community Club, Silver Heights Community Club and St. James 7th Brownie Troop.
Janet joined The Royal Canadian Legion, St. James Branch #4 in 1983 and became a life member in 1993. She was the Branch pianist for over 25 years; a life member of the Ladies’ Auxiliary; chairman of the Poppy Fund for several years and founding member of the Glee Club. She contributed her services to veterans’ funerals, to concerts at nursing homes and veterans’ concerts and on many occasions had entertained at other Royal Canadian Legion branches around the province. In addition, Janet had assisted at Branch initiation ceremonies on the registration of new members.
On December 10, 2001, Janet received the Governor General's Caring Canadian Award. This was presented to her by Her Excellency The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada, His Excellency John Ralston Saul, and His Worship Mayor Glen Murray.
“An accomplished pianist, Janet Miller has used her skills to provide entertainment, for the last 18 years, for seniors and shut-ins. She visits long-term care facilities throughout the year to entertain the residents, and has also been very active with the St. James Legion, visiting schools and nursing homes in her area to assist with Remembrance Day services. In addition, for almost ten years, Mrs. Miller helped prepare the St. James Brownies for their yearly performance at the Manitoba Music Festival.”
As the children were growing up, the family enjoyed many years vacationing at Trout Lake, Manitoba where they fished, often portaging to neighboring lakes, and social time with other regulars.
In 1972, George and Janet bought a cabin on Lac du Bonnet Lake with a million-dollar view and they spent as much time there as possible. They enjoyed so many activities including boating, fishing, card games, especially cribbage, relaxing with friends but their most joy was sharing these awesome cottage experiences with their children and grandchildren. Janet loved being at the lake. One of her most beloved chores was the wood pile which she kept stocked in the cabin to feed the wood stove and neatly piled outside. She also loved being with her grandchildren as they learned to swim, boat and fish. She loved to be with them as they experienced the joy of feeding “chippee” or roasting marshmallows over hot coals or a bonfire, catching turtles (and releasing). When there was absolutely nothing else to do, she would enjoy a simple crossword puzzle to idyllically pass the time, often with a short one on the table beside her.
After George retired in 1972 from driving bus after 38½ years, George and Janet occasionally did a little travelling. They spent a couple of winters vacationing in Brownsville Texas. They also traveled east to visit relatives in Ontario and as far as Bridgewater, Nova Scotia.
Janet, also known as “Gram”, had a “green” thumb. She had a garden in her back yard as well as one at the lake. She grew her fresh vegetables and did her pickling. Gram always started her tomato seedling early in the house and they were strong and healthy ready to plant after the first full moon. She also loved her house plants. When one of us had a sick plant, she could always miraculously bring it back to life.
Gram was also a great cook and baker. Turkey dinners were always delicious and she had them any time of the year (not just the big holidays) but her children as well as her grandchildren loved Gram’s angel food cake that always included a few coins to the delight of those who were lucky to get one in their piece! Gram’s Christmas baking was always delicious. Her apple, cherry and mince meat pies were always favorites as well as butter tarts and shortbread cookies. Gram was always a fountain of knowledge when one needed help with a cooking or other household problem.
Gram kept herself current with the latest news reading the newspaper daily. She was ready to pass on any tidbit she thought was applicable to anyone of us. She kept or shared clippings on house trends, recipes, sports, or household remedies such as keeping ants at bay.
Gram was fiercely independent, and we would have to say she was her own handy woman. She loved to refresh a room with a coat of paint, she often fixed her own small plumbing issues and problem solved and always performed her own repairs. While she was able (probably well into her 80’s), she would cut her grass and shovel her snow. We often found her on a ladder fixing something or with a hammer or screwdriver in her hand. And of course, duct tape was a staple in her house. Gram was always busy!
Gram was very proud of her heritage and was told as a young child that she was a United Empire Loyalist descendant. However, when studying the United Empire Loyalists in school and shared that she was a United Empire Loyalist descendant, the teacher did not believe her. At a young age it was an upsetting and impressionable memory. After telling her story to us, we were excited to do the research and in Christmas of 2011, we surprised her with an official United Empire Loyalists Association certificate proving her descent from Adam Green, A United Empire Loyalist, as well as her children and grandchildren. She was delighted! As a United Empire Loyalist, she was thrilled to be invited and attend three different events at Government House.
George and Janet used to curl at the Highlander Curling Club. Later in life, watching curling on tv was always a favourite pastime and cheering on our Manitoba teams. She was always delighted to discuss the latest games with her son and grandson.
We will miss Gram’s open invitation to visit her anytime. She always welcomed us and was generous with her endless supply of toonies for coffee or parking. Her cupboard was always full of baking or other treats and there was always something available to make ourselves a quick lunch if needed. Sometimes we needed a couch for a noon nap or sometimes it was just a quick pit stop or a moment to share at shot of Southern Comfort or a beer. Gram, you were always there for us.
Gram we miss you!
We love you and will hold you forever in our hearts!
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In Accordance with Janet’s wishes, cremation has taken place and no formal service will be held.
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