MADISON - Louise (O'Donnell) Miller, age 83, passed away on September 11, 2017 at Attic Angel Place in Madison, Wisconsin. She was born to Lulu (Geiss) and Charles V. O'Donnell on November 19, 1933, in the house her father built in Kansas City, Missouri. The family lost the house during the Depression, and Louise's father traveled the country looking for work. He found it in St. Petersburg, Florida, moving the family there in 1941. Louise attended Pinellas County schools, graduating from St. Pete High School in 1951. Louise met her future husband, Richard U. Miller, in Spanish class; they married on January 6, 1954, while he was serving in the U.S. Navy Louise supported Dick through is studies, and as he advanced in his career as a university professor.
In the early years of her marriage, the family relocated more than eight times in the twelve years between 1954 and 1966 as Dick moved between academic jobs, graduate school, and research projects. Maryland, Miami, Tucson, Buffalo, and Ithaca were among the stops, Each presented new dilemmas as her family grew along the way. Perhaps none, however, was more interesting - and challenging - than the year spent in Mexico City. Mrs. Williams, Louise's high school Spanish teacher, would have smiled in delight as Louise became the family's interpreter and cultural ambassador.
Louise and Dick settled in Madison in 1966, where they raised two children, Beth and Chris. The 1970s also finally provided Louise with an opportunity to pursue her own academic goals that had begun at St. Petersburg Junior College in 1951 but then put aside. She enrolled as undergraduate at UW Madison, earning a bachelor's degree in history in 1979 at age 46. Louise later remarked how awkward it felt to be older than many of the mothers of her classmates. Following graduation, she worked for many years as a budget analyst for UW Extension, retiring in 1997.
As a young woman, Louise studied piano, and especially enjoyed playing the waltzes and polonaises of Chopin - a love that she passed on to her children. Louise taught herself to knit and sew, and always made time to read aloud to her grandchildren. In retirement, Louise enjoyed traveling, ballroom dancing, and solving Sudoku, crossword and anagram puzzles. But most of all, she treasured the time spent with granddaughter Ada and grandsons Louis and Kai.
Louise was preceded in death by her parents; brothers Charles, Alfred, and Roland; sister Rosemarie; and nephews Bill O'Donnell and Kevin Kelley. She is survived by her husband of 63 years, Richard Miller; her children, Beth (Cliff Goodhart) and Chris (Katrina Liu); her grandchildren, Louis, Ada, and Kai; nephews Bob O'Donnell, Patrick Kelley, and Michael Kelly; and several great nephews and nieces. The family would like to thank the staff of Attic Angel Place and Agrace HospiceCare for the excellent and compassionate care Louise received during her illness. Cress Funeral Home is assisting the family and online condolences may be made at www.CressFuneralService.com. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Lincoln Elementary School (909 Sequoia Trail, Madison, Wisconsin, 53713) to support the school's Spanish language book collection.
6021 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53705
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