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Phyllis Rae Miller

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Phyllis Rae Miller, 61, of Gettysburg formerly of Pierre, died Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012 at the Oahe Manor in Gettysburg.

Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 10 at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Gettysburg with the Rev. Daniel Tews presiding. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service. Burial will be 2 p.m., Friday at Riverside Cemetery in Pierre.

Phyllis Rae Miller was born Sept. 23, 1950 in Gettysburg to Raymond C. and Mildred (McGough) Miller. She was the fifth of seven children with a sister and five brothers.

Phyllis was special from the day she was born and remained so for the rest of her life. When she was young, her younger brother, Johnny, could not pronounce Phyllis, so he called her “Honey” and her older brother, Marshall, called her “Baby Sister” and the names stuck. Phyllis called them her pet names.

Phyllis was one of three students who comprised the first special education class in Gettysburg. Their classroom was a storage room off the girl’s bathroom in the high school building. She continued special education classes in Pierre after the family’s move in the ‘60’s.

Following her mother’s death in 1974, Phyllis became a client of the Black Hills Workshop in Rapid City and had many happy years there. She was a very productive employee and proud to be receiving a paycheck and to be chosen as an Employee of the Year. She also loved social life and had many friends. She enjoyed sports, especially football and bowling, dancing, swimming, watching TV, participating in the Special Olympics and visiting with friends and family. Phyllis was at all of the family weddings in Texas, South Dakota and North Dakota and spent holidays with her family. She especially enjoyed receiving presents and would always ask if you had one for her. T-shirts and sweatshirts with logos, especially one with sport themes were her favorite. She loved the Dallas Cowboys. Her word search puzzle books were important to her as she was very good at finding the hidden words.

Phyllis became a resident of the Oahe Haven in May 2009 and spent the remainder of her life there. Here she got the best care from the entire staff. She was so happy to have her sister Sharon close by, and for regular visitors and nearby family. In February 2010 she was chosen as the Haven’s Valentine Queen. It was a great honor and she was so proud. Phyllis loved seeing family and knew all the residents’ names and family members.

Phyllis was stricken with an infection in September 2011 and succumbed to it on Feb. 5, 2012.

She is survived by her brothers: Dr. R. Marshall (Mable), Jerry (Robin) and Phil (Kathy) all of Huntsville, TX, and John (Marge) and Douglas (Sherri) of Pierre; sister, Sharon (Harlen) Shaw of Gettysburg; five nephews (six counting Randall); eight nieces; and numerous great nephews, nieces, special friends and the loving Oahe Haven Staff.

She was preceded in death by her mother in 1974 and her father in 1986.

Phyllis was special in every way. She was smart, funny, loving and a great hugger! We have lost a very beloved member of our family.

Luce Funeral Home of Gettysburg has been entrusted with Phyllis’s arrangements. (www.familyfuneralhome.net)

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