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Celebration of Life

Kalona Mennonite Church
Saturday May 7th, 2022

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Mary Ellen Miller

Mary Ellen Miller, 99, of Kalona, passed away Wednesday, April 27, 2022, at Pleasantview in Kalona. A memorial service will be held Saturday, May 7, 2022, at 11:00 AM at the Kalona Mennonite Church. The service will be available via Livestream on the Beatty Peterseim Facebook Page. Private family burial will be held prior to the service. A memorial fund has been established for Kalona Mennonite Church and Pleasantview Home. The Beatty Peterseim Funeral Home is assisting the family.


Mary Ellen (Swartzendruber) Miller was born September 13, 1922, in Kalona, Iowa, the daughter of Lewis and Mabel (Whetstine) Swartzendruber. She graduated from Center High School and attended Washington Junior College in Washington, Iowa, and Goshen College. While she was at Center High School, she played softball and was the star pitcher for the team. Mary Ellen was a schoolteacher in rural schools before her marriage. In October of 1946, she was united in marriage to Ralph Miller. She also taught piano lessons and was a substitute teacher in rural schools and at Kalona Elementary School. Mary Ellen was a member of the Kalona Mennonite Church and the Red Hat Society. She enjoyed playing the piano, watching birds, playing Scrabble, baking and entertaining, Iowa Hawkeyes sports, traveling, adult coloring books and golfing. Mary Ellen was a Rotary Ann and she loved cooking for the Kalona Rotary Club. Ralph and Mary Ellen hosted foreign exchange students through the University of Iowa and hosted Solveig Klungsoyr in 1965 through ICYE. That relationship was special, and Solveig has remained a part of the family for 57 years.


Survivors include three children: Margaret (Lynn) Williams of Lakewood, CO, Richard (Brenda) Miller of Kalona, Douglas (Beverly) Miller of Allen, TX; four grandchildren: Justin (Melissa) Miller, Jessica Schumack (Jason Wood), Jaclyn (Jon) Arnell and Dana Williams (Tim Hosman); eight great-grandchildren: Grace Hosman, Andrew Schumack, Haley Schumack, Wesley Bolton, Lucas Arnell, Scarlett Wood, Major Miller and Xofia Miller,


Preceding Mary Ellen in death were her parents, her husband Ralph in 1999, three siblings: Stan, Bill and Lucille Swarztendruber and a great-grandson Levi Justin Miller.


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Aunt Mary and Uncle Ralph were so fun to see and they really cared for us during our family trips in Iowa. Aunt Mary always made us feel welcomed and apart of our extended Kalona Swartzendruber clan when we came to visit. I remember Aunt Mary and Uncle Ralph driving us around to stop & see family historical sites in Kalona while telling stories along the way so that us kids would learn more of our family history. These excursions usually produced some good laughs as well! We also enjoyed just sitting & talking while playing table games with Aunt Mary... I wish my kids could have gotten the chance to know her and experience her love & kindness as well. While she will be missed greatly, we celebrate her life and the wonderful example of kindness & love that she was.

David Swartzendruber May 6 2022 11:55 PM

Dear Mrs. Williams and Lynn,
Lots of love and prayers to you both and your family.
I know your mama was special because you are Mrs. Williams.
Sending loads of hugs and prayers.

Lizzie May 6 2022 6:21 AM

Some of my best memories are of 60 years of staying at Aunt Mary Ellen and Uncle Ralph's house on our trips to Kalona to visit our Swartzendruber family. Mary Ellen was always glad to see us and was such a welcoming hostess. We had lots of fun together over the years- seeing the sights of Iowa, playing games, watching birds, having picnics, and enjoying family get-togethers. We will miss you a lot Mary Ellen. Rest In Peace dear Aunt!

Pam Swartzendruber Clouse May 4 2022 10:39 AM

Blessings to your family as you remember Mary Ellen's life. She was my piano teacher and I think I was her first student, maybe also the worst. I didn't really enjoy practicing. But she was always so kind and patient and had the nicest ways about teaching. May you feel God's love as you remember, laugh and cry together. I'm sorry I won't be able to attend the services for her. May God bless you richly in the days to come.

Mary Lou Farmer May 2 2022 8:33 AM

A candle was lit in memory of Mary Miller

Cynthia Shearer May 1 2022 4:51 PM

Mary Ellen was always there! KMC Sunday School, Bible School teaching! IMS, pleasant View fundraisers. A leader among ladies! Involved in all ladies sewing activities and behind the scenes serving in the kitchen at weddings, funerals and other celebrations. A true servants heart
shown also in her community involvement and wide range of interest and hobbies. She represents to my generation one of the last of the greatest generation! All of Kalona was enriched by her life and she will be greatly missed. Welcome home to your reward in heaven, a job well done!

Cal Miller Apr 30 2022 5:59 PM

A candle was lit in memory of Mary Miller

Judy yoder Apr 29 2022 1:53 PM