August 09, 2017

Deborah A. Miller, 64

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A memorial service will be held for Deborah A. Miller, daughter of Lucia A. and the late Donald A. Miller, on Monday, August 21, 2017 at 11 AM at Accabonac Creek off Landing Lane in Springs. A reception will be held afterwards at the family home at 517 Accabonac Highway, Springs.

Ms. Miller, 64, passed away from pneumonia in San Francisco on December 20, 2016, and was cremated. Her ashes will be scattered during the memorial service. In accordance with Ms. Miller's last wishes, the memorial is being held on her birthday and the reception will occur during the solar eclipse.

Ms. Miller, an 11th generation Bonacker, was raised in Springs and was a member of the East Hampton High School class of 1970. Always independent, she stunned her family by moving to San Francisco, where she knew no one, at the age of 20. She told her parents that she wanted to be a hippie, but changed her mind once she saw the Haight-Ashbury district. Although deciding she wasn't hippie material, she fell in love with her adopted city.

Ms. Miller remained single, preferring to live life on her own terms and surrounding herself with a wide circle of friends. She graduated from San Francisco College with a Bachelor of Arts degree and obtained a Master's degree from U.C. Berkley in library science. She worked for many years for Presbyterian USA and was deeply involved with her church. Ms. Miller derived great satisfaction from helping others and worked actively in many charitable endeavors but never sought recognition. She "adopted" a low-income school in San Francisco and became the Graham Cracker Fairy, providing the students with daily graham crackers, uniforms, supplies, treats and encouraging notes, all of which she funded from her modest means.

The students never met her and she never revealed her identity except to the principal of the school. When her final illness forced her to retire the Graham Cracker Fairy, the students wrote her dozens of notes to wish her well and to tell her how she had touched their lives.

A true Miller, she loved animals, especially cats, and volunteered for many years with the San Francisco SPCA as a dog walker and foster mom for feral kittens. She adopted many animals over the years and the ashes of her beloved dog, Marley, will be scattered with hers. She was an avid knitter and knit thousands of hats for cancer patients. If she saw a need, she met it and did it quietly and without fanfare, often anonymously.

A voracious reader, Ms. Miller had a quirky sense of humor, a love of baseball and a wide range of interests. She traveled extensively, often with her mother, and was fluent in Hebrew and Braille.

A shy and introverted woman, social interaction did not come easily to her and she had to force herself to participate in groups and even to travel. She was hampered by serious medical issues for most of her adult life and showed tremendous courage in overcoming daily physical adversity. In her final days, she told her sister that she had never liked the process of traveling because of her physical struggles, but did it because she wanted to see other parts of the world. At her memorial service in San Francisco in January, many people spoke of how she inspired them by example, how she minimized her own discomfort, and how most people did not realize the gravity of her condition. Her legacy of outreach and compassion for others continues to thrive.

She is survived by her mother, her sister Lucia E. Miller and brother-in-law Antonio Federico of Massachusetts, and her brother, Donald D. Miller, of Florida. Her father died in December, 2007.

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