Anita Van Dyke Eells Miller

Anita Van Dyke Eells Miller was born January 27, 1927 as the first of twin daughters of Dan and Anna V.D. Eells. She died February 25th in Christian Community Homes in Hudson, WI. Her persistence carried her through Milwaukee Downer Seminary for girls, Madeira School in Virginia into Boston College and Evanston Hospital School of Nursing. She loved being a registered nurse for children at Milwaukee Children’s Hospital from 1950-1953. She married Richard Sevier Miller after his ordination to the Episcopal priesthood in 1953. They chose a location on the Arctic Circle in the territory of Alaska to live for the next three years. Here Anita was very diligent in caring for more than 100 Kobuk Eskimos and Athabascan Indians in the villages on the Koyukuk River. There was no connection with medical oversight except a radio whose waves were not certain to reach the hospital 200 miles away, and transportation was difficult to send patients there.

Returning to Wisconsin, Anita and Richard moved to Baraboo with two girls, Cynthia and Pam. Anita soon gave birth to twin girls, Judy and Priscilla. In 1961 the family moved to the Dakotas and Iowa for thirty years. Anita enjoyed nursing at Native American hospitals and teaching nursing when she was not caring for her six children. Son, Andrew, and daughter, Lorna, were born while living in Chamberlain, South Dakota.

The Millers ministered in Somerset, England for a year where Dick served as rector in 1967. Dick & Anita spent six months in Tela, Honduras as teachers in 1995.

Anita was an avid and excellent golfer, organist when needed, loved to embroider and play tennis in her youth. She loved frequent camping, hiking and walking. Daily she often walked a mile, even in 2009 near their apartment for retirement and assisted living. Regardless of how stormy or snowy the weather, she insisted on walking the dog outdoors!  After retirement in 1991, they moved to Idaho and lived 15 years in Idaho Falls and Challis. She was active in nursing for the Red Cross disasters, especially in the aftermath of the Los Angeles earthquake in 1994 and the Oregon floods in 1998.

At age 62, Anita persevered and met the challenges to graduate from the University of South Dakota with a B.S. in alcohol and drug counseling.

Anita’s greatest gift was intercessory prayer and healing. She was much loved by her six children as a determined trainer of manners and morals. She is survived by all six children and a sister Maudie, age 96. Sisters Ann Schroeder, Elinor Weisse and Alice McLeskey preceded her in death.  She leaves a beloved husband, Richard, six children, fourteen grandchildren, and five great grandchildren in addition to many nieces and nephews.

Burial will be on Saturday, March 3rd in Forest Home Cemetery, Milwaukee, after the funeral at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Milwaukee. A memorial service is also scheduled for 2 pm Thursday March 1 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Hudson, WI.  Visitation will be for one hour prior to the service.  Services are in the care of the O’Connell Family Funeral Home 


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