Our dear mother, Normal J. Miller, 93, of Geneseo, passed into eternal life on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, at Hammond-Henry Hospital Long Term Care surrounded by her loving family. Funeral services celebrating her life will be at 10:30 a.m. Monday, May 1 at St. Peter’s Community Church, in rural Geneseo. The Rev. Dean Reed and the Rev. Eugene Wilson will officiate. Burial will follow at Oakwood Cemetery, in Geneseo. A visitation will be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 30 at Vandemore Funeral Home & Crematory, in Geneseo. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Peter’s Community Church or the Geneseo Education Foundation.

Our dear mother, Normal J. Miller, 93, of Geneseo, passed into eternal life on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, at Hammond-Henry Hospital Long Term Care surrounded by her loving family. Funeral services celebrating her life will be at 10:30 a.m. Monday, May 1 at St. Peter’s Community Church, in rural Geneseo. The Rev. Dean Reed and the Rev. Eugene Wilson will officiate. Burial will follow at Oakwood Cemetery, in Geneseo. A visitation will be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 30 at Vandemore Funeral Home & Crematory, in Geneseo. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Peter’s Community Church or the Geneseo Education Foundation.

The former Norma Jean Lewis was born on a farm in Cornwall Township on Oct. 7, 1923, to Glenn F. and Alice Hamilton Lewis. She loved driving through Cornwall Township and reminiscing about her childhood. Being the oldest of three daughters, she was her dad’s helper and acquired an early interest in livestock and farming. At an early age, her mother taught her to play the piano, which she often played at Liberty Church adjacent to her parents’ farm.

She was proud to have gone to Brandon School through the eighth grade. She then attended Geneseo High School and graduated in 1941. She was instrumental in organizing the 1941 class reunions for 75 years. After high school, she worked for the Geneseo Telephone Co. and did Western Union communications, secretarial work, and some advertising for rural telephone service.

She married Darrell Miller in 1944 and moved to Osco Township where she lived and farmed until her death. She loved the outdoors and drove tractors well into her 70s and mowed the large lawn until she was 85. She also did all of the bookkeeping for the farm and other family business interests for 66 years. Norma was a secretary in the Geneseo school system for 23 years and helped to open both Millikin and Southwest Elementary Schools. She loved her work at the schools and made many good and loyal friends there. She was a member of the steering committee that established the Geneseo Endowment for Excellence in Education Foundation, now known as the Geneseo Education Foundation.

Norma was very strong in her faith. She was always up early in order to start the day reading devotions. Her favorite passage was Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work for good for those who love the Lord and who are called according to his purpose.”

Music was a big part of her life. She played the accordion for Rural Youth square dances and talent shows at the old Wharton Field House in the 1940s. She played the organ and directed the choir at St. Peter’s Evangelical Community Church for 53 years until retiring in 2011. Norma also played in several local Geneseo bands over the years. She accompanied high school band soloists and played piano in The String Group. She was an early member of the Geneseo Community Chest and organized many of the first Tuesday Night Band Concerts in the park.

Norma enjoyed knitting and counted cross stitching. She knitted many sweaters, caps and baby booties. She also knitted complete outfits for herself and was featured in newspaper articles for her knitting. In later years, she focused on cross stitching which were given as gifts.

Norma was a 25-year survivor of stage 4 breast cancer and was an advocate for cancer screening. It was her custom to always look forward in a positive way. Until recent years, the word “can’t” was mostly unacceptable. She would joke with friends that her determination resulted from being very quietly Irish.

She is survived by her two sons, Craig and Bryn (Cindi) Miller, of Geneseo; two granddaughters, Holly (Kevin) Baumgart, of Milwaukee, Wis.; and Laura Miller, of Knoxville, Tenn.; great-granddaughter, Londyn Baumgart and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; husband; sisters, Moneta (Bob) Ford and Sarah (Don) Fuller; and sisters-in-law, Hazel Miller and Adeline (Harry) Tiffany.