On July 9, 2020, Elizabeth May Walker Miller passed away peacefully after 91 years of courageous battle against myriad health conditions. Her asthma brought her to Arizona from her native Canada in the 1950s and here she met her beloved future husband, Robert “Bob” Miller. Together they explored the desert, started their family, and settled into a house on an acre near the dirt roads of Cactus and Scottsdale. Beth loved her home and stayed there for nearly 50 years until her health dictated a move to a care home.
Although she never saw herself as brave, she spent much of each month alone with her small children as Bob traveled for work. She was always waiting with them at Sky Harbor Terminal One for the plane to touch back down when he returned. Whether facing her many stays at the hospital or her weeks alone with toddlers, Beth wasn’t one to complain.
Curious and interested in everything, Beth particularly loved dressing up and going to a fine restaurant, attending cultural events, and keeping up on current affairs and the news. Even to the end, she enjoyed a good conversation and surprised people with how well she knew the world around her. A born artist, Beth could draw, paint, sculpt, and create beauty with whatever tool she had at hand. She was proud that for decades, one of her oil paintings hung on the wall at Herb Drinkwater’s liquor store. As avid a reader as she was an artist, she taught her children to read by reading to them as babies, and she bravely fought the school librarian to ensure her children weren’t limited to “age appropriate” books.
When Scottsdale had an annual Shakespearean festival, Beth loved to attend, and among her treasured possessions from her youth were leather bound volumes of Shakespeare. She was proud of her elegant and artsy handwriting, which graced so many loving cards and greetings to friend and family. Her sense of humor delighted all around her and she might have been just a little bit proud of the time when, as a young woman, she was “busted” mimicking a well-known conductor at an orchestral performance in Canada. She was always up for an adventure, whether it was a Sunday brunch, a Chihuahua dog festival, or a trip to Los Angeles to see Phantom of the Opera on stage.
Beth - always “Betsy” to her cherished husband - loved quail, gadgets, hot tea, prime rib, and tacos. She loved dogs, and for many years was known for walking her Dachshund, Roody, and talking with neighbors along the way. Big-hearted and generous, gift-giving was one of her great joys in a life in which she found many joys. She also deeply loved the cabin in the woods that she and Bob built, and would spend weeks there throughout the year, enjoying the sight of elk wandering through or the scent of the rain on the pines.
She will be deeply missed and long remembered. Beth is survived by her son, Robert B. Miller (Elaine), her granddaughter, Eden, and her daughter, Marcy J. Miller (Russ). Due to COVID, a memorial service will be planned for a later date. She will be interred at Paradise Memorial Gardens in Scottsdale.
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