Grace Miller


Grace Miller, Tryon Nebraska went to her rest in heaven on August 4, 2014.
Grace Evelyn (Lutes) Miller was born on August 20, 1920, the daughter of Joseph H. and Mary A. (Reynolds) Lutes. Grace was born in Lincoln NE at the home of her grandparents James A. and Catherine (Booher) Reynolds. Grace was the second born of seven children – five daughters and 2 sons.
The Lutes family resided in Logan County, Nebraska on the Lutes Ranch and later in Stapleton. Grace lived many unique childhood adventures with her father’s unusual endeavors. Grace related, she was her Dad’s helper in his honeybee-keeping enterprise, his mink farm, his trapping and his tree-growing endeavors, learning a love for the outdoors that persisted throughout her life.
Grace graduated from Baker Rural High School, Stapleton in 1938, where, like many young ladies, she took a class called “normal training” that prepared her to teach in a country school. She first taught for two terms (1938-1940) in Pleasant Hill Dist. #14 in southeastern McPherson County. Those first pupils and their families became lifelong friends. Grace also worked as a “soda jerk” at Sigman’s Drug Store in Stapleton, launching her love of ice cream!
Even though they had been raised in the “sandhills’ not too many miles apart it was at a “Hillbilly Dance” that a young cowboy in his new black hat and red bandana scarf caught Grace’s eye! That romance progressed steadily and Wayne Miller and Grace were married on Christmas Eve of 1939. Wayne worked for a farmer and cattle feeder in Perkins County, a rancher in Thomas County and the Baskins Diamond Bar Ranch in Logan County until 1944 when they moved to the ranch in northeast McPherson County that was homesteaded in 1914 by Wayne’s parents, Earl and Della (Harvey) Miller. They leased the ranch and bought his father’s livestock and machinery and after several years bought the ranch. Grace shared her husband’s boyhood dream and was a supportive “rancher’s wife” in every adventure. Grace always planted a big garden, did lots of baking and sewing and exhibited at the county fair in a big way. Wayne was often on the road to a weekend rodeo or even hosting a rodeo at the ranch with Grace as his “pardner”. Years later they proudly raised prize winning purebred Hereford cattle and owned and operated Miller Ranch Supply.
Wayne and Grace raised five children (first born 1940 and the baby in 1958). Those kids were raised on beans and buns, but were healthy and active in 4-H as well as helping with ranch work. Grace received the local “Good Neighbor Award” in 1954 after being nominated by her neighbors and friends. Throughout her life, Grace was a dedicated community volunteer in Hall Church (established in 1951) and was an avid supporter of Bethel Bible Camp, she served as 4-H Club and Cooperative Extension Leader, being recognized with the “Friend of McPherson County” 4-H award. She was a charter member of Sandhills Craftique FCE club. As leader of the local Tree Board, and honoring Arbor Day, many school children learned the value of planting a tree. Grace was always interested in being a steward of the land. Her grandchildren relate how she instilled in them a love of God and the nature he created. sharing her breadth of knowledge about gardening and the birds, bugs, trees, grass, weeds and wildflowers that covered her beloved Sandhills,. A self- taught student of the environment, she shared her enthusiasm and knowledge with anyone who expressed a desire to learn. Red Cross Blood Services benefited as she donated blood religiously during her life, along with volunteering at bloodmobiles whenever possible. Grace loved genealogy; she held an unbounded store of affection for her extended family and felt that it was her duty to keep the family bond strong. She loved the Lutes, Reynolds, Miller, and Harvey lineage.
Wayne and Grace celebrated 65 years of marriage before his death October 28, 2005. In 2010 Grace was honored with a 90th birthday party. She smiled continually for a month, it seemed, from the outpouring of affection and loving regard shared with her at the party and in her mail. Loved ones took the opportunity to tell her of her importance in their lives.
Above all else, Grace’s love and loyalty to God was a steadfast part of her life. She led by example, helping her children establish a foundation of faith. She modeled for her family an unwavering connection with her Savior. She was genuine in her walk with God, knowing that she was always cared for and that she could lean on Him. Seldom did she panic about life’s obstacles but instead believed that she should “worry less, pray more”.
Preceding Grace to heaven were husband Wayne, grandson Shawn Schraer, great –grandchildren Jessika Songster and Dante Chavez Rodriguez, her parents and siblings, Marilyn Lutes, Halcyon Miller, Joan Dobbins, Joseph Peter (Pete) Lutes, William F. Lutes, and Barbara Dappen.
Grace is survived by children: Velda (John) Schraer of Atchison, Kansas; Elwin (Margaret) Miller of North Platte; Penny (Dan) Nicholson of Oologah, Oklahoma; Doye (Vickie) Miller and Berva (Dan) Arensdorf, of Tryon. Grace and Wayne’s family was blessed with nineteen grandchildren, fifty great-grandchildren (three more expected soon) and twelve great-great grandchildren. Grace is also survived by sisters-in-law Donna (Lutes) Chapin, Lincoln; Delma (Harvey) Knapp, Ogallala; and brother-in-law Orval Miller, Tryon.
Grace leaves a legacy of love for God and his handiwork. A Bible passage that encourages all of us to tend to our inheritance is Proverbs 6:20-22.
My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching. Bind them on your heart always; tie them around your neck. When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you.
Memorials are suggested to the Hall Church and online condolences may be shared at Memorial services for Grace will be held 1:00 p.m. Monday August 11, 2014 at Hall Church, north of Ringgold, NE with Pastor Jonathan Martino presiding. Committal service will follow at Miller Cemetery near Tryon, NE. Visitation will be from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with family gathering from 3:00 until 5:00 on Sunday at Adams and Swanson Funeral Home which is in charge of arrangements.