Margaret Miller

Jul 31, 2018
Margaret Miller

Camden — Margaret (Peg) Miller died peacefully in the presence of her daughters Marjorie and Sarah July 22, 2018, near Camden, where she had been living a full and engaged life at the Quarry Hill assisted living facility for the previous four years. Peg was active to the end, dining with her family out by the town harbor and on Sarah’s deck the two evenings prior to her sudden death at the Pen Bay Medical Center from respiratory failure. She was 95 years of age.

Born Margaret Elizabeth McFall in Amherst, Mass., where her father, Robert McFall, was teaching at the Massachusetts Agricultural College, Peg’s first memories were of life in Arlington, Va., where she grew up with her father, her formidable mother, Marjorie Carr McFall, and her older sister, Alice. She spent many – and certainly the happiest and most memorable -- summers of her youth near the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia, where her father had grown up and where his father still lived for much of that time.

Peg moved with her family to New York City in her teen years and graduated from Julia Richman High School in Manhattan. She attended college just before and during the Second World War, first at Cornell for a year before transferring to Barnard College, from which she graduated with a degree in economics on D-Day, June 6, 1944. During her last year at Barnard, she met a recent law school graduate from Missouri, Roy Miller, while he was attending Midshipmen’s School at Columbia University. She and Roy continued to correspond after he left for duty on a troop transport ship operating in the Pacific theater out of California, and they were married in 1945 in Missouri, while Roy was on leave.

After a brief time in California, Peg and Roy moved to the small town of Marshfield in southwest Missouri, not far from where Roy had grown up. Roy set up a law practice, and he and Peg became active members of the community and raised three children, David, Sarah and Marjorie (Marge). Roy died of cancer in 1971, however, and Peg soon struck out into politics on her own. She served two terms in the Missouri Legislature, where a brave vote in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment led to her defeat at the following election – as she had realized it would.

Peg was soon back in the state capital of Jefferson City, though, acting as legislative liaison for then-Missouri Gov. Christopher (Kit) Bond. Following that, she served in a similar position for then-Missouri Secretary of State Roy Blunt. Peg’s gregariousness and her ability to work with and enjoy the company of people of widely varying opinions from widely varying backgrounds served her well in these positions. She loved her work, and was respected by her colleagues, many of whom became firm friends.

Peg gradually retired in Jefferson City, living in a small home overlooking the Missouri River, honing her bridge game, and working from board positions to forward in the state legislature and elsewhere the cause of institutions she cared about, including the Missouri Humanities Council and the KMOS public television station in Warrensburg, Mo.

In the summer of 2014, while visiting in Camden with her daughter Sarah, Peg became ill and, after an extended stay in the hospital, decided to remain in Camden. While living at Quarry Hill’s Anderson Inn, Peg spent many afternoons and evenings with Sarah, her husband, David Babski, and other family members during their frequent visits. She quickly became engaged in the broader community, as well, attending courses at the nearby Belfast Senior College, going to evening talks sponsored by the Camden Conference and for three years the weekend-long foreign affairs conference itself, joining in a knitting group at Quarry Hill – and playing bridge, of course.

Peg quickly became as loved and admired in Camden as she had been, and continued to be, back in Jefferson City. She is survived by her son, David Miller, and his wife, Valerie Miller, of Richmond, Mo., her daughters Sarah and Marge Miller and their respective husbands, David Babski and Peter Fontaine, now all of Camden following Marge and Pete’s recent move up to Maine from Arlington, Va.; and grandchildren Adam Kemezis, Ian Miller, Whitney Miller, Allison Fontaine and Thomas Fontaine. She was predeceased by grandson Aaron Miller. Peg’s family and her many friends will all miss her greatly.

Gifts may be made in Peg’s memory to the Belfast Senior College, University of Maine Hutchinson Center, 80 Belmont Ave., Belfast, ME 04915 or online at ; or to KMOS-TV, University Of Central Missouri, Wood Building, Rm. 11,Warrensburg, MO 64093 or online at .

Condolences may be shared with the family at Arrangements are with Long Funeral Home & Cremation, Camden.

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