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Barbetha R. Miller
Age 90, of Longwood at Oakmont, on Friday, September 15, 2023. Wife of the late Henry “Ty” Miller; beloved mother of Gretchen and the late Harry “Pat” Beck, Tyrus Miller and Deanna Shemek, and Thomas and Susan (Illies) Miller; grandmother of Isabelle and Polly Miller. Barbetha was preceded in death by her parents Henry and Ruth (Ward) Goeb. In recent times, she spent much precious time with her close friend and companion Eckard “Eck” Münck.
Barbetha was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. She lived an adventurous life with her beloved husband Ty, a career military officer and an accomplished scientist and engineer. Over their decades of happy marriage, they lived and raised their family together in many different places, including the pre-statehood Alaska, Okinawa, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, California, and Kentucky. Intrepid and curious, Barbetha loved to travel and to expand her experience everywhere she visited or lived. With her astonishing memory and her irrepressible storytelling drive, she relived those experiences many times over with a vividness and detail that sustained her to the last.
Having previously lived in Pittsburgh for ten years beginning in 1974, following her husband’s passing, she moved back to the Pittsburgh area in 2015 to become a resident of the Longwood retirement community in Verona, where she had many fond friends and acquaintances. She was highly sociable, curious, active, and independent, and she took genuine joy in the community she found at this last phase of her life. Living at Longwood, she was also able to be near to her daughter Gretchen, with whom she had a profound bond of care and companionship.
She was a loving mother to each of her three children, fostering their individual intellectual and creative interests and celebrating their achievements from childhood on. Whether it was music lessons, nature camps, sports, or science fairs, she was tireless in making sure her children had the utmost opportunities to learn and grow. She took great joy in her two granddaughters, watching them grow into young ladies, showering them with affection and sharing her stories with them in person and in frequent, cherished letters.
She treasured her own learning and education, and those of her husband and children as well. As a music scholarship student at Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College), she earned her Bachelor of Science degree and qualified as an elementary school teacher. She supported her husband Ty in his study for a master’s degree in the 1950s and later for his Ph.D. in the 1960s and her children as they made their way through their different educational and professional paths. At every step of the way, she helped make their futures possible and beamed with pride to share in their accomplishments.
An accomplished singer from her youth, music was Barbetha’s great passion throughout her life, from her performances as a soloist and choral singer, to her teaching of piano to private students (including her own children), to many rewarding years with the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh and the Paducah Symphony Choir, to the vast number of operas that her friend Eck introduced her to in recent years and which they watched with shared delight in their evenings together.
Barbetha took a genuine interest in everyone around her, both close friends and more occasional acquaintances. She heard and recounted their individual stories, weaving them into her own life as if they were part of her extended family. She was an avid reader of fiction and, with Eck, discovered a whole world of foreign films as well—which added still more to her extraordinary repertory of narratives! To the end, she had an astonishing recall of everything she read and heard, and her conversation was full of the stories she took in and cherished.
She takes a wealth of memories away with her, of which she was the unique living treasury. But stories made up the music of her life; now that her breath has become spirit, the echo of this music lives on in all who remember her.
Friends and family will be received on Thursday, September 21 from 11am to 1pm at English Funeral Home and Cremation Service Inc., 378 Maryland Avenue, Oakmont PA 15139. A Memorial Service and Interment will be held in Paducah KY at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Barbetha’s name to the Juvenile Diabetic Research Foundation (https://www.jdrf.org).
Juvenile Diabetic Research Foundation