Sep. 13, 1921 Terre Haute Vigo County Indiana, USA
Nov. 10, 1988 Brazil Clay County Indiana, USA
Evelyn was the only child of Blanche Pauline Powell and Howard A. Rea. She was born in Vigo County, Terre Haute, Indiana. Evelyn was bright, beautiful, talented and loved. Her elementary and high school education were completed in Terre Haute, IN. She graduated from Garfield High School with high honors, Class of 1939. Evelyn was a member of the "National Honor Society." She received a college scholarship to Indiana State College(now ISU), but opted to marry instead. Evelyn Rose Rea and Alfred Allen Miller were married October 24, 1939. Of that marriage, four children were born: Polly Lou, Peggy Marie, Alfred Allen Jr., and Pamela Rose. Evelyn's mother, Blanche Powell, came from a well-educated family. Blanche's father was a teacher, her brothers, one a teacher/principal, the other a doctor/scientist. Her sisters married well, and were considered "well off" at that time. Evelyn's father, Howard Rea, came from a working class family, some of which were farmers. Her father, Howard, worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad as a mechanic for many years. He was injured on the job, received a settlement for his injuries, and retired early. The Powell family had high hopes for Evelyn, and were not pleased to see her marry early and give up a college education. Probably because Evelyn's mother was "sickly", had asthma and other allergies, she may not have been as strong an influence on Evelyn as she could have been. Evelyn married into a hard-working, "down to earth" family when she married Alfred A. Miller. Life was often difficult for the family during their early married years, mostly due to financial struggle. Evelyn was a stay at home mom, and Alfred worked various jobs, in order to support his family. When WWII broke out, Alfred joined the Navy "Seabees." He did a tour of duty in the Philippines. Evelyn had a difficult time coping with her husband being away, and in danger, during the war. She lived with Alfred's parents while he was gone. Finally her father-in-law, Clyde Miller, purchased a small house for her and her children. During this stressful period, both sets of parents assisted the family financially. After the birth of their third child, Alfred was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1945, and came home, to Terre Haute, Indiana to live and work. As the family increased to four children, Alfred continued to find better jobs, and finances began to improve for the family. In 1957 they moved to Indianapolis, where Alfred worked for Ford Motor Company, and eventually they bought a home in Indianapolis. In the early 1970's, after Clyde Miller's death, they moved to rural Clay County, Indiana to help care for Alfred's widowed mother, Lena (Ferree) Miller. Alfred also became a lay pastor at the church in Terre Haute, which his father, Clyde Miller, had founded and pastored for many years. Evelyn served as the church secretary. During the 1970's-1980's, they had the time and resources to do some travelling. Evelyn and Alfred went on a couple of mission trips to South America and Belize. They also went to Mexico, took several trips out West, and numerous trips to Florida. At one point in time they owned a motor home, which they used extensively. In 1975 they went on a Holy Lands Trip, which included visiting Switzerland, Jordan, Greece, as well as Israel. They both loved to travel, enjoy beautiful scenery, and eat exotic food. This was something they were unable to do in their earlier years of marriage. Evelyn was a talented and creative person. As a child she had taken tap dancing lessons. She used to "tap dance" around the house, to the delight of her children. She also had a beautiful soprano voice. She loved to sing, and even dance at church. Her love of music greatly influenced her children. It seemed only "natural" for the girls to sing together in harmony with her, as they did chores around the house. There were also music lessons for the children: piano, accordion, organ, violin, electric (Hawaiian) guitar, and of course singing. Evelyn loved to read, draw, do needlework, sew, cook, and bake fancy cakes. She had a knack for taking something simple and making it beautiful. Evelyn attended a Baptist church as a child. After marrying Alfred, and attending his father's Pentecostal church, Evelyn was baptized by her pastor/father-in-law, Clyde Miller, and was filled with the Holy Spirit. Evelyn loved the freedom of worship she experienced in the Pentecostal church. It greatly influenced her and her family. Each of the four children, as well as her husband, Alfred, experienced salvation and were dedicated to the Lord. "Faith", "Healing", "Deliverance", "Worship", and "Trusting in Jesus' Name" were teachings of the church to which she adhered. She was an avid Bible reader and memorized many scriptures. The Psalms were some of her favorite books. She was loving and compassionate, always encouraging and full of faith. One of her favorite "mottos' was: "This Too Shall Pass." After her love of God and her husband, her children were her life! She loved them passionately, often putting their needs above her own. She was very protective of them, encouraging and helpful, whether with school work or with emotional needs. She disciplined her children but with love. She once told a critical church member, "Leave my kids alone. I'll take care of them!" Evelyn always wanted her children to excel and be the best they could be. She took great pride in their accomplishments. Each of her children received a college education or advanced technical training, the one thing she herself aspired to, but was unable to attain. When her grandchildren were born, Evelyn found much joy in them, and dearly loved each one. After a shaky beginning in her married life, with passion, dedication, love, and persistence, she lived to see her children and grandchildren achieve some of her own dreams. Their success was deeply rewarding to her. Evelyn learned she had cancer of the cervix in the early 1980's. After much struggle, radiation treatments, and stays in the hospital, the cancer spread. She succumbed of the dreaded disease in November, 1988, at only sixty-seven years of age. Yet her legacy and influence continue on through her children and grandchidren. Some of them have received college degrees, and all of them have inherited her musical talent, artistic eye, and a love for the Lord. Someday her children and grandchildren will join her to sing and shout, and dance and rejoice all over Heaven!
A special thank you to daughter, Polly Miller Turpen, for a loving tribute to her mother and my grandmother.