In place of my regular Tombstone Tuesday I am instead posting a tribute in memory of my Aunt Kate who passed away this past weekend.
Born Catherine Jean Miller to Carl and Gertrude (Brewster) Miller in 1927, everyone knew her by the name of Kate. I was fortunate enough to be able to call her Aunt Kate.
She was the beloved wife of Paul Eichler and they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary just two days before Kate passed away.
Kate was also a bridesmaid in my parents’ wedding.
She was also a beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend to many. She had an infectious smile and laugh and a great sense of humor. From what I hear, she got her sense of humor from her mother, my grandmother Gertrude (Brewster) Miller, who was just plain ornery and did all sorts of mischievous pranks.
Kate was the fifth of the eight Miller children. My dad was the fourth born and she was just two years younger than him. The family had many good times growing up on the farm and we enjoy hearing those stories as much as they enjoy telling them.
Uncle Vernie tells how his sister Kate was always afraid someone was lurking under her bed. To keep that person from grabbing her when she got into bed she would make a running jump into the bed from several feet away. One day their mother moved the bed and Kate, not knowing that, made her running leap and landed on the floor instead.
Just like all the Miller women, Kate was a very good cook and baker. When I was a teenager I spent a day at her house and she taught me how to make her award-winning Swedish Tea Ring bread. It took the better part of a day to make because it was made with yeast which had to rise. She usually entered a Swedish Tea Ring at the Mercer County Fair where she won a blue ribbon every year but one. Her family still talks about her sugar cookies as well.
Aunt Kate had a green thumb and had a beautiful flower garden. She got me to join the Rockford Garden Club back in the 70s, but my flowers and arrangements could not hold a candle to hers. She was an expert at growing and arranging flowers.
A few years back Aunt Kate and her siblings were comparing their feet. They all took off their shoes and were trying to decide who had the worst-looking feet. Due to privacy issues, I will not divulge who has the worst feet. They know who they are. The whole family has what we call Miller Feet, complete with bunions and crooked toes. My husband Joe joined in and took his shoes off, too. Although he does not have any bunions and his toes are nice and straight he does have some hair on his toes. Evidently Aunt Kate had never seen hairy toes before and she got the biggest kick out of his hairy feet. Monkey Feet she called them.
Joe and Kate loved to kid and joke around with each other. They had some good times at family gatherings and usually had their heads together laughing at some silly joke.
Aunt Kate also kept up with technology. She had her own Facebook page and she enjoyed playing on-line Scrabble with her brothers. Kate and her siblings also talked via their computers every Friday morning. They enjoyed their Miller chat time.
Aunt Kate had a way with people. The children at her church loved her and she was even able to talk her way out of a speeding ticket from a State Trooper once.
Everyone loved her. Who wouldn’t?
She was a wonderful person and it was an honor to have her as my aunt. She will truly be missed.