Cover photo for Sandra L. Miller's Obituary
Sandra L. Miller Profile Photo
1935 Sandra 2018

Sandra L. Miller

October 14, 1935 — June 14, 2018

Sandra Louise (Brandt) Miller, 82, of Pender, NE passed away on Thursday, June 14, 2018 at Legacy Garden Rehabilitation and Living Center in Pender. Memorial services will be 10:30 a.m. on Monday, June 18, 2018 at the United Church of Pender; with Pastor Steven Breazier officiating.  Memorial visitation will be 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 17, 2018 at the United Church of Pender with a prayer service starting at 5:00 p.m.  Burial will be in Rosehill Cemetery in Pender, NE.  Memorials are suggested to the Pender-Thurston Education and Community Foundation Fund.  Arrangements are under the direction of Munderloh - Smith Funeral Home in Pender. Sandra was born on October 14, 1935 at the family farm in Prescott, Iowa to Jess William and Avanell Emaline (Severns) Brandt.  She was raised with 2 older brothers, Harve and Donny and a younger sister, Myrna.  Her brother Ed was born a bit later when she was 13.  She was baptized and confirmed at the Methodist Church at Prescott.  Her brother Donny died of leukemia in 1950 (at the age of 17) and broke her family’s heart, what with his suffering and all.  The ripple effects of his death are quieter, but still present all these years later.  She was very close to her brother Harve, who was killed in a combining accident in 1975.  She went through a rough patch after that.   Her Dad died in 1973 and her Mom in 1996. She studied Secondary Education/Home Economics at Iowa State University from 1953 to 1957. She was born at a certain time and adopted certain beliefs about the role of women in family and society that would occasionally surface later in life and cause her a bit of struggle.   She longed to travel to Wyoming and work one of her college summers at Yellowstone National Park, but allowed her father’s lack of permission/blessing to stop her.  The moment was pivotal for her, as it allowed her to follow her own path a few years later when John Anthony Miller proposed to her.  (John was Catholic and Avanell and Jess tried to dissuade her union to him on religious grounds . . . a pervasive attitude in 1957.)  Thank god she bucked her parent’s wishes.  Sandy graduated from college the morning of June 15, 1957.  She married John that afternoon at a chapel on the Iowa State campus. John and Sandy had 3 kids:  John Anthony, Jr. (born July 4, 1958), Rene’ Avanell (born April 18, 1960) and Benjamin Albert (born December 15, 1961).  They were taught a lot of different things, depending on their interests, but were mainly taught to exhibit strength, compassion and kindness.  Each received a fair share of their parents’ traits.  Sandy, in particular, was very passionate, generous, had a devilish spark in her eye and would always err on the side of taking charge in any given situation.  (That is, unless John Sr. took charge first.) She loved teaching, gardening, sewing and music.  She and John hauled their kids to Sioux City when the family was young to see Johnny Cash and June Carter perform.  There was a small brown radio in the kitchen that was always on.  Music was a huge part of the household.  The family garden was about a quarter of an acre and she canned an ample amount.  Sandy was always sewing and cooking.  The house usually smelled of some incredible culinary concoction, maybe not too fancy, but always tasty.  She loved eating ice cream and drinking coffee.  She loved to talk and was not above gossip. She taught Home Economics at Millard High School in the late 50’s, Home Ec and Chemistry at Rosalie High School in the late 60’s and substitute taught for all subjects at Pender and Bancroft between 1970 and 1990 or so. She loved the United Church of Pender and rarely missed services.  She was part of the Women’s Circle, young couple’s Mariners group and served on the church board.  Her love of music certainly included hymns.  She belonged to Gamma Iota and PEO and served both organizations. When John died, she partnered with Alvie Smith from 2004 until he passed in 2016.  They were great companions for each other.  They lavished considerable attention on each other and each assuaged the loneliness of the other. This above all: she adored her grandchildren and great grandchildren.  Nathan, Lindsey, Tyler (John and Connie’s children) and Greyson (Rene’ and Mike’s son) were the lights of her later life.  She had 7 great grandchildren at the time of her passing.  She had a great kinship with children.  She truly enjoyed showing up for the important events of extended family and her friends.  She took great delight in her high school reunions. She is survived by a ton of friends and family.  Her younger sister, Myrna (Rich) of Denver; her brother Ed (Suzette) of Virginia Beach; her son John (Connie) of Pender; her daughter, Rene’ (Mike) Botts of Lincoln; and her son, Ben of Altadena, California.  She is also survived by four grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.  Preceded in death by her parents; husband, John; two brothers; and friend, Alva.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Visitation

Sunday, June 17, 2018

3:00 - 5:00 pm (Central time)

United Church of Pender

504 Earl Street, Pender, NE 68047

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Prayer Service

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Starts at 5:00 pm (Central time)

United Church of Pender

504 Earl Street, Pender, NE 68047

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Memorial Service

Monday, June 18, 2018

Starts at 10:30 am (Central time)

United Church of Pender

504 Earl Street, Pender, NE 68047

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