• 3250 Plymouth Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48105
  • (518) 481-0552
  • 3250 Plymouth Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48105
  • (518) 481-0552

$9,000 Donation Honoring Woman WWII Veteran

Dear Friends at Fisher House,

It is with great pleasure that we present this donation in honor of our mother/wife, Jane Bennett Miller (1922-1978), to the building of Michigan’s first Fisher House.

Jane “Momma” enlisted as a Private in the Women’s Army Corp on May 13, 1944, at the age of 22. Her service was in Long Beach, California. We know that, like many young women, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, she wanted to find a way to do her part and believed her enlistment would accomplish that. But beyond that, we don’t know a lot about her time as a “WAC.” What we do know, in the short time she was with us, is that her generous spirit was her greatest legacy.

Momma’s friends were the kind of people others shied away from… people with handicaps (one friend was deaf; another mute), and people with odd personality traits. She used these relationships to help teach us the value of friendship. For instance, one of her friends was very unpopular because she cheated at the bridge table. No one wanted to play with her. But Momma struck a deal with our dad that the two of them would faithfully play cards with this woman and her husband on bridge night. When we asked her why, she responded that this woman was always the first on the scene when someone – anyone – needed help. This friend of Momma’s would cook, clean, drive or do any other job that needed doing in an emergency situation. Momma’s wonderful words of wisdom to us were, “If you can’t overlook a person’s faults, you will never enjoy their goodness.” These are words we took to heart and that have served us well. Taking us to visit her handicapped friends at an early age and watching her interaction with them taught us that some of the best friendships can be formed with people not like us.

Momma had a deep love of dogs. She often said that if circumstances were different, meaning if she hadn’t been diagnosed with cancer in her 40’s, she might have enjoyed founding a humane society. She had an excellent instinct about dogs; she knew when we were very small that a sick, abandoned puppy that was hanging around our grandmother’s home would be a perfect family pet after she watched us put our faces down, without incident, into the bowl of food she’d put out for him. She brought him into our home (after a full wellness regimen at the local vet), and “Walter” was the joy and life of our home for nearly 15 years. After Walter passed, Momma spotted “Ethan” in the local “Pet of the Week” ad for our South Bend Humane Society and she knew right away he would help fill the void left by Walter.

While our mother raised us in Indiana, her finest moments were spent weekends and summers in Michigan at our family farm. She couldn’t wait to put on her jeans and ruffled cowgirl blouses and head off with us to “the farm.” We enjoyed family time fishing, camping, and overnighting in “the living barn.” She used to enjoy planning our birthday parties there, and hauling up station wagons full of friends to enjoy this beautiful Michigan retreat.

Momma would have liked Fisher House. In the last decade of her life, as she fought her cancer, much of her time was spent in hospitals, waiting her turn for chemotherapy and radiation. She understood the fear and loneliness of illness, and it would have made her happy to support a way to ease that fear – to help build a place where family members can be close to loved ones struggling with illness – a place that brings families together during the most difficult times in their lives.

Thank you for this unique opportunity to honor our mom/wife. She was a beautiful person who died too young.

Sincerely,

Daughters, Mindy Jane Moore (Tony D. Moore); Pamela Miller Christian (James Christian); Lisa Beth Maguire (Jamie Maguire)

Son, Robert L. Miller, Jr. (Jane Woodward Miller) Husband, Robert L. Miller, Sr.

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