Dorothy Miller, a longtime resident of Absarokee, died peacefully on Aug. 5, with her daughters and caretaker by her side, as she went home in the loving arms of her Lord and Savior.
Her wish in her later years was to live to be 100. She made it to 101 ½, very content, and with peace in her heart.
Dorothy was born in Park City, the third child in a family of 13 children born to John Frederick Kober and Marie Elizabeth (Lehman) Kober. Growing up in the Park City area, attending school was sporadic and a struggle, because her strong back and working ability were needed in the bean and beet fields.
It was while working in the beet field, she met her future husband, George. He saw her and thought “she was the prettiest girl he’d ever seen,” even though she was wearing dirty overalls, an over-sized long sleeved shirt, a straw hat and shoveling beets into the beet truck. They were married on March 18, 1933, in Park City with a traditional German wedding and three-day party.
Their early years were spent in Park City, Columbus, Fiddler Creek out of Fishtail and in 1942, with their family of four children, moved and homesteaded a 600-acre ranch six miles west of Absarokee.
Dorothy spent her time raising her children, gardening, and lots of cooking for family, hired hands, relatives, friends and other visitors. They sold the ranch in 1947 and moved to Absarokee, where she was a farmer’s wife and still kept a milk cow and chickens.
In 1956, George went to work building rural electric lines, and Dorothy took to heart the line “wither thou goest, I will go.” They lived in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska and California and Dorothy adapted very well.
She made friends wherever they lived and sometimes found a part-time job, washing dishes, cleaning hotel rooms or whatever was available. She wasn’t afraid of any kind of work and took it head-on.
When George retired in 1977, they re-settled in Absarokee and had many adventures together. George built a conestoga wagon and started doing wagon trains. Again, Dorothy adapted, making friends, living like the pioneers, cooking over an open fire and sleeping on the ground. They also traveled extensively in the U.S. in their motor-home.
Dorothy learned to make quilts when she was 14-years-old and it became a lifelong passion. Each of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren received a quilt. There were always quilts waiting to be donated to a benefit or charity, a quilt for a baby being baptized, quilts for the newborns at St. Vincent’s Hospital and quilts for the needy through the Rescue Mission. These quilts were given quietly from the heart without any fanfare.
She also spearheaded making quilts for charity at Immanuel Lutheran Church. She was a tough task master for this project, setting a goal of 100 finished quilts each year and many times reaching that goal.
Dorothy had many interests. She loved to crochet baby caps for the preemies at St. Vincent’s Hospital and at last count she had donated 378 caps. She also crocheted prayer shawls and gave to those with illnesses, recovering from surgery or mourning the loss of a loved one.
She never learned to drive, but joined groups, and had many friends with which to ride; Spring Creek Community Club, Home Demonstration Club, and Absarokee Rebekah’s in the early years.
She volunteered many hours at the Absarokee Senior Center, hand quilting, making homemade noodles, helping with fun-raisers, and sitting one afternoon a week for years to welcome visitors and offer a cup of coffee.
She also volunteered many hours helping to establish the Museum of the Beartooths in Columbus, as well as volunteering to help preserve and restore the Cobblestone School building in Absarokee. She loved being a member of the Stillwater Quilters and never missed a bi-monthly meeting.
She was also a long-time member of Immanuel Lutheran Church, was active in “Faith Circle,” always stepped up and volunteered her willing hands when work was needed.
Throughout her life, she had the “idle hands are the devil’s workshop” syndrome. She raised a garden and canned and preserved everything she could stuff in a jar. She raised chickens and shared the eggs, homemade noodles, and homemade chicken noodle soup. It delighted her when arriving at Farmer’s Market at 9 a.m. with her spud-nuts, the buyers were waiting and within minutes they were sold out.
She would give cinnamon rolls or pies to family and friends for no reason, “just because.”
She wasn’t a worldly woman or educated by books or college lectures. Her education came from facing life head-on with courage, stamina, determination and living her life to the best of her ability, knowing that God loved her and was present to support her.
Dorothy was preceded in death by her husband George after 76 years of marriage, her son Ted, daughter-in-law Molly (Allington) Miller, great granddaughter Ashleigh Rae MacAuliffe, sisters Emma Frank and Tillie Marcus, brothers Sol Kober, two year old Alfred, baby sister Sophie Kober and many nieces and nephews.
Survivors are her son Charles and Jean Miller of Guernsey, Wyo.; daughters, Doris and Harvey Madison, and Georgette and Don Scheafer, both of Absarokee; daughter-in-law Susan Miller-Edman of Petersburg, N.D., brother Robert Kober, sisters Freida Tkach, Minnie Berst and Polly Vernes, all of Billings, Louise West of Seattle, Ruth Hall of Spokane and Clara Freisz of Riverton, Wyo., 13 grandchildren 28 great-grandchildren, 19 great-great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. Special friends also left behind are Mel Askins and newest friends, the “Gallagher boys,” Jordan, Jace and Jaxson, who visited her several times a week.
Our family wishes to express our gratitude to Tess and Glenn Shipp for providing a warm, loving and caring home. She lived at Shipp’s Assisted Living in Absarokee, loved the food, except when the potatoes weren’t cooked enough. Thank you Tess and your staff, Sheri, Amber, Char, Arlene, Debbie, Jackie and other staff members who have cared for our mom in the last 4 ½ years. Also to the Hospice Team in her last days, Donna & Sonya, we are very grateful. Thank you Pastor Robert and Susan Leaverton for the visits and spiritual care when she could no longer attend church.
Memorials may be made to Immanuel Lutheran Church, P.O. Box 343, Absa