Long-time Napa resident Janice Dorene Skelton Miller (Jan Miller) died peacefully due to complications from Alzheimer’s Disease on Nov. 24. She was 81.
Jan was born on Aug. 27, 1936, in Fayetteville, Ark., to Doran and Ruby Ballou Skelton. When she was 5, the family, which included her brother Buddy, moved to Rogers, Ark. In Rogers, she attended Central Ward Elementary School and Rogers High School. She graduated in 1954. Those were happy years and Jan was heavily involved in classes and activities.
In the summer after her junior year she represented Rogers High at Girls State in Little Rock. In her senior year she was senior class secretary, Future Teachers of America President, secretary of the Arkansas Future Business Leaders of America and an officer in her local FBLA chapter, Worthy Advisor of Rainbow Girls, president of Wing Scouts, voted Best All Around Girl by her classmates and was Valedictorian of her senior class. She served the high school band as manager, was on the staff of the school newspaper, was in the pep squad and was a senior play cast member.
After high school graduation she attended Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark., for one year. She transferred to Baylor University in Waco, Texas, in 1955. She graduated from Baylor in 1958 with a BA degree and teaching credentials for grades kindergarten through high school.
In 1957 she married her high school sweetheart Harrell Glenn Miller, who would eventually become a Napa pastor, principal at Redwood Middle School and Vintage High, and a prominent volunteer and community leader. They lived in San Antonio and Del Rio, Texas, and Vorges, France, during his years in the Air Force. Following his Air Force commitment they moved to California in 1960 where Jan taught at Petaluma Junior High while Harrell attended Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley.
Harrell’s first full-time pastor calling was to the Redwood Baptist Church in Napa in 1963. The Millers have lived in Napa since then, though they also lived part-time in their later years in Golden Canyon, Ariz. Daughter Margaret was born in Petaluma and Matthew was born in Napa. The children both graduated from Vintage High and Baylor.
During the years the children were growing up and attending Napa schools, Jan served as an officer in the Northwood Elementary School Parent Faculty Club and also in the Vintage Parent Faculty Club. She was also a scout leader for both children and was an occasional substitute teacher in the Napa Valley Unified School District.
In Napa, Jan was a long-time volunteer in the Community Projects PEO, AAUW, Napa Genealogical and Biographical Society, and served at the Redwood Baptist Church and the First Presbyterian Church. At First Presbyterian, she was the co-director of Christian Education and was in charge of the Child Care Center and the Presbyterian Day School. She had been a church administrator at Redwood Baptist. She also was involved in two Napa book clubs.
In Arizona, she belonged to Gold Canyon United Methodist Church and a Gold Canyon neighborhood book club.
Jan loved to travel with Harrell, visiting friends. She was a voracious reader, a master at crossword puzzles, a movie enthusiast, a strong supporter of her favorite sports teams, the Baylor Bears, the Oakland Athletics and the Golden State Warriors, and a devoted grandmother to her grandsons.
She leaves behind her husband Harrell, her daughter Margaret Elizabeth Miller of Plano, Texas, her son Matthew Harrell Miller and his wife Robin of Vacaville, and two grandsons, Luke Matthew Miller and Kyle Robert Miller of Vacaville.
Details on an upcoming memorial service are pending.