Mary Patricia Miller (née Bircher), 76, passed away in her home in Houston, TX surrounded by loved ones on August 11, 2022.
Mary Pat, as she was called in her hometown, was born in Highland, IL on November 8, 1945. She graduated from Highland High School and earned her bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University in Normal, IL, and her master’s degree from University of Houston-Main Campus, where she also worked on her doctorate.
Mary met Jim Miller while he was in the U.S. Army and stationed in Illinois; they married on July 8, 1968. Mary was a devoted wife, mother, and educator. She taught at Dwight Township High School in Dwight, IL, and college level American History at Houston Community College and Tomball College until her retirement in 2005. She enjoyed taking the scenic route to tour historical places on the way to visit her family in Illinois, and she loved when her brothers would come visit Texas. Mary regularly listened to Astros games, rosaries, Mass, and gardening tips on the radio and CDs of musicals and Irish folk music. She read constantly, wrote pages and pages of notes and thoughts, and was always learning.
She was an active parishioner of St. Thomas More Catholic Church since moving to Houston in 1974. Mary helped the Good Samaritan group by preparing dishes for funerals, baked for choir bake sales and joined many bible studies and prayer groups as well as supporting events and fundraisers at the Parish. She continued her vocation to education at STM by teaching ESL. She had a special connection to Mary and the Holy Spirit and lived with grace throughout her life.
Mary is preceded in death by her parents, Patricia F. Bircher (née Lonergan) and Bernell F. Bircher, and brothers James T. Bircher and John R. Bircher. She is survived by her husband of 54 years, James M. Miller, their children, Stephanie E. Miller, James B. (Katie) Miller, and Patricia M. Miller (Mario Uresti), and grandson, Cody Miller, as well as brothers Fred A. (Cherie) Bircher, Bernell F. Bircher, Jr., William J. (Donna) Bircher, and Edward S. Bircher, and sister-in-law Mary Pamela (Solarno, Bircher) Dodson, and extended family including nephews, their families, and many cousins.
Funeral Mass will be held in Houston, TX, after which Mary will go to her hometown of Highland, IL for Rite of Burial to be laid to rest alongside her parents, brothers, and other family.
Services in Houston, TX: Visitation will take place at Earthman Bellaire Funeral Home on Wednesday, August 17, 2022 from 6pm – 8pm, with a Rosary to begin at 7pm. Funeral Mass will take place at St. Thomas More Roman Catholic Church on Thursday, August 18, 2022 at 10:30am, which reception directly to follow in Servant Hall.
Service in Highland, IL: Visitation will take place at Spengel-Boulanger Funeral Home on Tuesday, August 23, 2022 from 9:00am – 11:00am.
Graveside Service will take place at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery, Highland, IL, Tuesday, August 23, 2022 at 11:30am.