Iconic Legend

This world lost a treasured soul yesterday. This one is for you, LaRue Miller…may you rest softly in eternal Love, grace, peace, and learning, beautiful sainted one.

We often attempt to live our lives backwards…wanting more things, more education, more money, more order, more control, all in an attempt to do more of what makes us happy in this life.  The way it actually works is the reverse.

“You must first be who you really are and then do what you need to do in order to have what you need and want in life. The smiles and trials will come and go but your true self should always shine the brightest.”  ~ LaRue Miller

Mrs. Miller chose to embrace and actively live this particular pearl of wisdom with her signature grace and unconditional love. Gratefully, her personal philosophy will live on in the generations of lives she touched throughout her teaching career of 55+ years as well as her volunteer work in the very town and home where she grew up, raised her own family, and gave back everyday of her fruitful life. To hear her voice a thought was to participate in a master class of communication and collaboration from deep within her soul. Her obvious passion for learning and teaching, her quiet strength, and her pearls of wisdom were discreetly dropped into any conversation. To read her personal story was inspiring. To hear and witness firsthand how she led with her story and shared it everyday of her life was a modern miracle. Her determined ability to see and draw out the personal best in each soul was legendary. These were just a few of the touch-points in the powerful legacy of LaRue Miller.  And while she would never admit it, she was and will forever remain the most insightful part of something profoundly extraordinary because she, LaRue Miller, was the catalyst.

Mrs. Miller would often share how she was humbled and honored to have her legacy carried forth in the classrooms of the school bearing her name.  One of her proudest moments was the morning our superintendent called to inform her of the decision. Even today, when you visit or volunteer at the campus bearing her name, you will find telltale signs of her subtle influence:  a picture or book here, a quote there…all reminders of her majestic influence and continued inspiration.  She deeply loved her community, her namesake school, her church, her former students and their families, her beloved friends, and most especially, her own impressive family. 

As the first principal of her namesake school for the last eight years of my educational career, I remain forever grateful for her wisdom, enthusiasm, stories (especially those when she taught with my mom), collaborations, and hugs; she was so generous with those hugs!  🙂  She knew her story, she communicated her story so incredibly well, and she always led with her story every single day!

There is a beautiful book in every classroom on her campus called The LaRue Miller Legacy, written by students and staff about her incredible story the first year her campus opened. It is heartwarming and comforting to know her legacy book project will continue to assist young learners and leaders in practicing the speaking skills and story-telling Mrs. Miller herself modeled throughout her lifetime. She believed strongly young students needed positive role models as they developed language and communication skills through shared conversations. During my tenure on her campus, she modeled this weekly in small groups, during parent nights, at campus-wide family functions, and so much more. She also encouraged students and their families to document their life stories and lessons for future generations. It is our responsibility and honor now to take up her story for her so the exceptional life and legacy as the school’s namesake will never be forgotten.

Thank you, Mrs. Miller, for honoring us with your legacy. Thank you for being the approachable, personable, smiling living legend we needed with much grace and unconditional love.  Thank you for blessing my family and countless other families in a million, brilliant ways. Thank you for small talks, short walks, laughter, storytelling, remembrances, books, smiles, hugs, and all those spaces in between where cream gravy soaks in and grace shines through them. Thank you for knowing and sharing the secret to a well-lived life is in giving…giving your support, encouragement, respect, presence, talents, gifts, service, time, and love. Thank you for believing in and actively living the sacredness of The Golden Rule throughout your long and fruitful life. Thank you for being a deep and special part of those you served and those who served with you. Thank you for actively living, sharing, and always reminding all of us, “the goal is simple…to help you achieve yours!” 

To the Miller Family (her school family and her personal family): May great love and precious memories wrap each of you in comfort and strength to help soften the edges of her physical absence as you face each new tomorrow…bva

6 thoughts on “Iconic Legend

  1. Mrs. Miller was such an amazing person – an inspiration to many generations of Midlothian citizens, educators, students, and everyone she met. I was fortunate to get to know her well as she subbed very often in my early years of working at J.R. Irvin – from 1999 until she got her
    school in 2008. We had a special relationship, and I remember teasing her saying, “I guess you won’t be coming here anymore now that you have your OWN school.” She would laugh, but you know what? She did still sub at Irvin even after Miller Elementary opened even though she had to be 80 or close to it. I remember on Veterans Day 2005, our GT students put on a big assembly for our entire Irvin community. All the children invited their parents and grandparents who had served. We had so many attend that we had to present it twice once for the younger grades and another time for the older students. At the assembly, Mrs. Miller read the short passage about Doris Miller in the old social studies book from which she taught for many years. In planning that assembly, I had the opportunity to have several long conversations with Mrs. Miller about the history of segregation in Midlothian. It was so enlightening to hear her perspective as both a teacher and a student growing up in Midlothian. Every year since then (16 years now), I have included the story of LaRue Miller in my annual Black History guidance lesson. I believe it is so valuable for students to hear what happened in our own hometown. Our Irvin library does not have a copy of “The LaRue Miller Legacy.” Do you happen to know if there is any way I could purchase my own copy to use when I present this lesson each year? Thanks, Beth!

    • Hello, Elizabeth; great to hear from you and learn your story intertwined with Mrs. Miller! Thanks for sharing. I’m working with the publisher to try and secure another printing of her book. Several family members and others have asked about additional copies. I’ll keep you posted as we work to make this happen. Blessings and thanks, Beth

  2. Beth,
    I’ve heard you share these exact words with many people about Mrs. Miller. Thank you for putting this in writing to share with so many others who were not fortunate enough to have known even a piece of her. Mrs. Miller was a blessing to many, many people; but I was blessed to have known her personally. Her legacy is one I hope continues to be shared with anyone who walks through the doors of LaRue Miller Elem. Thank you, Beth, for sharing your words, and for reminding me how blessed I was to have called LaRue Miller Elem my home, and also for giving me the opportunity to know Mrs. Miller as the person she was.

    • Oh my friend…thanks for reading my words and sharing your words in return! We are both better people for the blessing of LM in our lives. She and her legacy are with us always. Most of all, she was incredibly proud of the “hard and holy work” our staff together did everyday of our service to make her school excellent…she knew and she was grateful to all who chose to be there. Miss and love you, friend. bva

  3. I love this tribute to LaRue Miller. Even though I did not know her personally, I felt her presence and all that made her who she was, shine through your words. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about her and letting us know what a great lady she was.❤️

    • Thanks so much for reading my tribute and sharing your kind words as well. She is with me always and I’m a better person for her constant presence in my life. I’ll touch base with you this week too. Hugs, bva

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