Verne Colleen Miller, 59, of Martinsburg, passed away peacefully at home on Friday, Dec. 13, with her loving family by her side, while under the care of Hospice of the Panhandle.
Born March 5, 1954, in Martinsburg, she was one of the four favorite daughters of the late Mary Elizabeth (Pitzer) and Clark Joseph Hutzler.
Colleen graduated from Musselman High School in 1972. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education, with a minor in language arts and social studies from Shepherd College in 1976. In 2002, she earned her Master of Arts degree in Elementary Education from West Virginia University.
During her 37-year career as an educator in Berkeley County, "Mrs. Miller" was well-known, respected, and adored for her love of teaching and of children, her kindness, her impeccable handwriting skills, her teaching of all 55 counties of West Virginia, and her ever-present, beautiful smile. She began her career as a 4th grade teacher at Rosemont Elementary. There, she developed friendships that lasted a lifetime! In 2001, she earned the well-deserved honor of Berkeley County Teacher of the Year. She represented Berkeley County Schools with dignity, passion, and devotion. She moved to Orchard View Intermediate when it opened in 2002, continuing to teach her beloved 4th graders. Over the years, she was instrumental in the success of the Berkeley County Schools Studies Fair.
Colleen was a member of The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, Eta Chapter. She retired from Berkeley County Schools in May 2013, after touching the lives of countless students and colleagues. She also was a member of the Golden Rule Order of Eastern Star #69.
Colleen received the Musselman High School Outstanding Alumni Award in 2013. Though she was first a spirited and loyal Appleman, her two children changed her heart while they were students at Martinsburg High School, and she became a devoted Bulldog fan. Her cheering could be heard during each game, and she was elated with the Bulldogs' 4th straight state title win. Her love of sports did not end with the Bulldogs. She was also an enthusiastic fan of the Orioles, Redskins, and Mountaineers.
Colleen was a devoted member of Arden United Methodist Church, where she was active in the choir, served as a worship leader, and was a Trustee. With her genuine love of life and interest in and concern for people, Colleen befriended people everywhere she went. She was true, loyal friend to all. Colleen had a rare and precious gift for finding the good in all people and situations. She knew how to make people feel special and loved. Her warmth and love were reflected in all her actions.
She is survived by her most loving and devoted husband of 37 years, Douglas W. Miller, at home; two children, whom she loved fully and unconditionally, Autumne Charm Frye and husband, Bryan, and Joseph "Alex" Miller and wife, Bethany. She is also survived by three beloved grandchildren who adored their "GG," Colin Jackson Frye, Camden Jacob Frye, and Addison Grace Miller; her three sisters, Kathy "Sissy" Bennett and husband, Ronnie, Tara Morgan and husband, D.L., and Mickey Joe Elliott and husband, Tony; special cousin, Derrinda Morrison and husband, Virgil; and several nieces and nephews. Her pets, Sophie and Scruffy, were by her side to the very end.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her in-laws, Mildred C. and James Alexander "Doc" Miller; special aunt, Gladys Pitzer; several aunts and uncles; and beloved pets, Beau, Babe, Sugar, Shepp, Molly, and Bullet.
The family would like to extend heartfelt thanks for the exceptional care and personal touches given to Colleen by the nurses and personnel of Hospice of the Panhandle, as well as doctors and nurses of Shenandoah Oncology, especially Dr. Gemma and nurse Claudia.
Celebration of Life services were held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013 at the Brown Funeral Home South Berkeley Chapel.
Memorial contributions may be made to Arden United Methodist Church Choir, 4464 Arden Nollville Road, Martinsburg, WV 25403; or Hospice of the Panhandle, 122 Waverly Court, Martinsburg, WV 25403.
Online condolences may be offered at www.BrownFuneralHomesWV.com.