Jean A. “Jeanne” Miller

PORTAGE  --  Jean A. “Jeanne” Miller, age 61, of Portage, lost her long, courageous battle with metastatic breast cancer on Tuesday, March 23, 2010, at her home.  

Jeanne was born on July 24, 1948 in Madison, Wisconsin to Alfred and Betty Slotten.  She attended Schenk Elementary School and graduated from Madison LaFollette High School in 1966.  After high school, Jeanne worked for the State of Wisconsin and AAA.  She then attended Madison Area Technical College and received her degree in Conference and Court Reporting.  Upon graduation, she worked as an administrative secretary for Norman Mitby, district director of MATC.

She married Charles W. “Chuck” Miller at Lutheran Memorial Church in Madison on October 25, 1974. 

Jeanne was a legal secretary part time at the Nicks and Smiley Law Office in Portage and was able to stay home and raise her children while she was the President of the “Something Special” Homemakers Club.  She was also the Story Hour Lady at the Portage Library, which she enjoyed very much.  Jeanne was also the co-chair of the Music Boosters Club while her children were in high school. 

In 1985, Jeanne began her career working for Columbia County government.  From 1985-1988 she was administrative secretary for UW-Extension.  From 1989-1998 she was the office manager in the accounting department.  She also worked as an assistant for Columbia County judges.  From 1998-2003, Jeanne worked at the Columbia County Recycling Center.  She was elected Columbia County Clerk in the fall of 2002, and served two terms, retiring in January of 2007.  She greatly enjoyed working with her staff, the county board supervisors and board members, and the village, city, and township clerks.  Jeanne worked hard to help replace the outdated voting equipment with new and improved machines that streamlined the voting process for Columbia County residents.

Jeanne and her children were active participants in 4-H, and she was instrumental in bringing the New Directions club to life, which helped bring the real life lessons through 4-H to city children.  Jeanne loved to grow flowers;  she was a member of the Pardeeville Garden Club.  She and her good friend, Sheila Gyr, loved to take part in the annual garden tours to admire beautiful landscapes.  She was also in charge of the Pauquette Gardens for several years, as a member of the Portage Kiwanis Club.

In 1984, Chuck introduced Jeanne to the sport of curling at the Portage Curling Club.  She became an excellent curler, and she loved to watch her family curl in Portage and around the state.  She served on the board of directors as secretary for the Portage Curling Club, and she also curled in leagues at Poynette, Arlington, and Lodi.

She was also a member of the Tuesday night “Ladies of the Evening” golf league at the Portage Country Club.  She loved to spend time with her friends on the links.

When Jeanne wasn’t busy raising her family, cooking wonderful meals for her family, or working, she loved to knit and sew, and was well known for her excellent seamstress abilities.  She loved making her kids Halloween costumes when they were little.

Her favorite movie was “It’s a Wonderful Life” and it was required family viewing each Christmas.  She loved decorating her home, and she always had the Home and Garden network on television.  She loved to shop with her daughter, Emily, for items for her home and the homes of her children.  She created a beautiful and inviting home.

Each year, Jeanne looked forward to a trip to Mexican Riviera Maya with good friends, Paul and Diane Parker.  She loved spending the week enjoying great company, good food and good weather.  She was able to take one last trip in the first week of February this year.  She had a great time, and was able to do all activities she wanted to, including relaxing on the beach and shopping for treasures.

A major part of her home life included many lucky dogs and cats over the years.  Her love for dogs and cats was widely known, and she has passed that love of animals to her children. 

After her first bout with breast cancer, Jeanne became an active member of Pink Ribbon Angels, helping local women receive mammograms and financial support when they were diagnosed with breast cancer.

Much to her family’s chagrin, Jeanne remained a staunch Brett Favre fan, even when his number 4 turned purple, but Chuck still bought her the purple and gold jersey and hat so she could celebrate each Viking victory.  (She told Chuck that was the best Christmas present she ever received!)

Jeanne was preceded in death by her parents, Al and Betty Slotten;  her father-in-law, Al Miller;  her sister-in-law, Linda Loomis;  and her niece, Alyssa Loomis.  She is survived by her husband of 35 years, Chuck;  her son, Paul of Portage;  her son, Andrew (Andrea Bolan) and daughter, Emily Brainard (Max), both of Madison;  her sisters, Nancy Rhode (Alan) of Portage and Cherie Nowlen (Curt) of Madison.  She is also survived by her mother-in-law, Eleanor of Pardeeville;  her brothers-in-law, Steve Miller (Ginny) and Gene Loomis of Florida.  She is survived by nieces, Lisa McQueen;  Amy Voss (Mike and daughter, Lilly);  Nikia Nowlen;  Shana Dumbleton (Kyle);  and Kaitlin Miller;  and nephews, Curtis Nowlen;  Chris Loomis;  and Jared Miller.

Memorial services will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, March 26, 2010 at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, W8267 Highway 33 East, Portage, with the Rev. Dick Inglett officiating.  Inurnment will be private.  Visitation will be held at the church on Friday, March 26, 2010 from 4:00 p.m. until the time of the service at 7:00 p.m

The family would like to thank Dr. Amye Tevaarwerk and the staff of the lab and chemo departments at UW-Carbone Cancer Center for the excellent care they provided for Jeanne.  The family would also like to thank Home Health United Hospice Care for the comfort they provided in Jeanne’s last days.  They would especially like to thank Maria, Betsy, Diane, and Dave.

The family greatly appreciates the outpouring of support from Jeanne’s friends.  We have received wonderful meals, flowers, cards and prayers that have shown how important Jeanne was to everyone who knew her.

Jeanne always put her family and friends first, and she will be deeply missed by everyone that knew her.  Her smile and her dimples always lit up the room wherever she went.

Memorials can be made to the Columbia County Humane Society, N7768 Industrial Road, Portage, WI 53901, or Bethlehem Lutheran Church, P. O. Box 606, Portage, WI 53901.

The Pflanz Mantey Mendrala Funeral Home in Portage is assisting the family.    





For information please call 608 742-2126 (Portage, WI) or 608 635-2763 (Poynette, WI)