ForeverMissed
Barbara Ellen Miller, age 81 of rural Belle Plaine died peacefully at home on March 21, 2020 surrounded by her loving, devoted husband Val and family after a courageous battle with cancer.  Barbara was born September 20, 1938 to Lester and Helen (Dryer) Scholl in Salem, South Dakota and grew up near St. Peter, MN. She married the love her life, Val Miller on September 20, 1953 and for 66 wonderful years they were an inseparable team.  It was rare to see one without the other.

Marrying in their teens, their life is a true Rags to Riches story. Living in their 1st home for 6 years they had no running water and used peach crates as furniture. Together, they raised 15 children. Through hard work, perseverance and strength of character they worked tirelessly, side by side amassing their acreage until present day; in their 80’s they continued to operate their modern farm using advanced technology and agricultural practices.

Barb was a woman in a male-dominated world.  She single-handedly prepared 2000 acres for planting in spring and in summer drove her own Kenworth semi hauling hundreds of loads of grain to market each year.  In the fall, while Val harvested the crop she transported the hundreds of loads of grain home in their semis and monitored the grain dryer.  After harvest, she and Val together worked the fields for the next season.  She truly was a woman ahead of her time, proving that there isn’t men’s work and women’s work but just work.

Aside from farming, Barb was a devoted Mother, Grandmother and Great-grandmother.  Holidays at the Miller home were legendary and were cherished events for her family.  Her motto was:  You don’t need to be invited, you are always welcome here.  Every Christmas Barb shopped tirelessly finding the perfect gift for each and every one of her 140+ family members.  She had a notebook in her purse with every gift that she had ever given each family member to avoid duplicates.  She baked dozens of pies for every holiday, never using recipes and served a traditional holiday dinner for over 100 making it look easy.

In Barb’s “spare” time she loved to crochet.  Lovingly stitching each grandchild their baptismal gown; Afghans, doilies, doll clothes and stuffed animals are treasured heirlooms.

In another male dominated field, Barb was renowned in the Tractor Pulling world for over 50 years. She broke stereotypes, filled the stands with her fans and filled their home with trophies. While late into her 70’s she thrilled the crowds as she maneuvered her turbo-charged JD6030 down the track leaving massive black plumes of smoke behind her.

Barb was a woman who lived life to its fullest.  She taught her family how to work hard, play hard, laugh often and most importantly that family is first. She was incredibly proud of her large family. While most mothers or grandmothers carry photos of their families, Barb carried a smart phone and an i-pad and would proudly swipe through her photo gallery to share family photos with anyone she met. Her greatest love was her family.

Barb leaves behind the love of her life and husband of 66 years, Val, her children, Suzanne Simonette (special friend Jerry Plonski), MaryLou (Bill) Jewison, Douglas (Diane) Miller, Patricia (Roger) Weiers, Rita (Clayton) Prahl, Michael (Allie) Miller, James Miller, Barbie (Al) Schwartz, Lisa (Scott) Eide, Charles (MaryEllen) Miller, Billy (Kelly) Miller, Tammy (Brett) Simon, Cynthia (Craig) Mandery, Val (Theresa) Miller, Becky (Roth) Knight.

Grandchildren: Suzanne: Tina (Brock) Mader, Robert (Liana) Simonette; MaryLou: David (Ellen) Jewison, Julie (Grant) Schultz, Katie (Kevin) Johnson, Jennifer (William) Mason;  Doug: Cathleen, Peter (Kat), Brian, Daniel, Tony Miller, Rachel (Steve) Liebhard, Mark (special friend Erica Marckason), Jeffrey (deceased), Annie, Nicole, Adam, Sam & Steve Miller; Patricia: Joseph (Lauren), Matthew (Elaina), Abigail, Margaret (Drew Gorman) Weiers; Rita: Leah (Jamie Harmon), Laura (fiancé Pablo Reyes) Prahl, Lexi (Ted) Martin, Chas (Addie) Prahl; Michael: Andy (fiancé Heidi Schiesser), Megan, Amanda and Michael Miller; Barbie: Brett (Kelsey), Miranda and Jessica Schwartz; Lisa: Nicholas (deceased), Nate (fiancé Geena Whalen), Ellen (fiancé Max Meyers), Ben and Tom Eide; Charles: Alyssa (fiancé Dylan Deegan) Filand, Callie Jo, Lauren, Alison Miller; Billy: Emily, Tyler, Ashley and Olivia Miller; Tammy: Carline, Mason, Lindsey and Addison Simon; Cynthia: Jacob, Samantha and Emma Dresselhaus; Val: Ella, Luke and Valerian Miller; Becky: Brennan, Odin and Miller Knight.

Great-Grandchildren: Suzanne: Ethan and Riley Mader, Lyla and Willa Simonette; MaryLou: Lauren, William, Claire, Kate, Cora and Sam Jewison, Isabella, Gavin, Colin and Elizabeth Schultz, Landon, Tyson, Preston, Addison and Trenton Johnson, Cooper Mason; Douglas: Kaytlyn, Gavyn, Paul and Charlotte Miller, Aidan, Alex and Dorothy Liebhard; Patricia: Madelyn, Hannah, Grace, Jack, Mollie and Violet Weiers; Rita: Lydia, Benton, Lillian and James Prahl-Harmon, Carter and Clinton Prahl; Charles: Lee and Henry Deegan.

In cooperation with the guidelines set forth by the CDC and MN Dept. of Health during the current health crisis, services will be scheduled and announced at a later time.


Posted by Jim Hermel on April 19, 2020
Dear Val, and the entire Miller Family
Val, I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your wonderful wife. I did not know her that well, but knew she was one hell of a lady. 66 years with her Val is truly amazing for the love and stability you both showed to each other, and the family you built. I remember talking with her one time, she was in your car knitting or something, and I had the greatest visit with her, while you were in Wholesale. Doug, Charlie, Billy, Mary Lou, Diane, Tammy, Bret and the entire family, have peace in the Lord!
Jim Hermel
Posted by Carol Dvorak on April 5, 2020
We were sad to read about Barb's passing. Our deepest sympathy to Val and her entire family. It was a pleasure to get to know Barb when I worked at Union Hill. A truly amazing and honorable woman with a beautiful smile.
God Bless
Carol Dvorak and Ronald Ruhland

Posted by Delores McKenna on March 29, 2020
Dear Val and Family,We were shocked to hear of Barb"s passing Our prayers are with you. Barb was the most hardworking person we knew.  We will miss her and her beautiful smile,she was always so friendly and made us feel so comfortable.      Dick & Delores McKenna





















Posted by Bill Svoboda on March 29, 2020
To uncle Val and family
 We always enjoyed seeing Barb and as always members of her family were with her. Barbs upbeat personality and high energy was great to be around. We loved to cheer her on at the tractor pulls. Our family will greatly miss her
Love Bill, Kathy, Spencer, friend Hannah
Posted by Barbara Jones on March 29, 2020
Dear Val and family:

I have been watching through the pictures, what a beautiful tribute to Barb. I attended Le Sueur Public school with Mary Lou. It is always hard to loose a loved one and it greatly shown how much love she had for all of her family. My sincerest condolences to all. 

Barb
Posted by Jeff Johannsen on March 25, 2020
Val Miller and family my time with you Mother was the best watching her pull the 6030 was the greatest will never forget.meeting a bunch of the family was awesome consider all my friends Barb was the best.RIP!!!!!!
Posted by Alan Schmidtke on March 25, 2020
Dear Val and family: So sorry to hear about Barb's passing. Our deepest sympathy goes out to you and your family. I got to know Doug and Charlie when I was working at Wholesale Tire in Morristown.  Throughout the many years I got to know a lot of the family hauling fuel out to the farm. Also the many conversations I had with Val and Barb about the grandkids and great grandchildren. Getting to know Barb Schwatrz with our insurance needs. May God bless each and everyone of you in your time of sorrow.  Alan and Laurie Schmidtke
Posted by JOYCE HARDER on March 25, 2020
Dear Patty and Rita and the rest of the Miller and Prahl family,
So sorry to hear about the death of you Mother.
Your photos show allot of love and great family memories.
My deepest sympathy,
Joyce Harder
Posted by Renee Retka on March 24, 2020
Miller Family,
I'm very sorry for your loss. What a lovely tribute to your mom that you wrote. May you experience God's peace that goes beyond all understanding.
Posted by Sue Felmlee on March 24, 2020
I am having trouble finding the words to express my deepest sympathy to Val and the whole Miller Family.  I became part of your family when my daughter Theresa married "Little" Val. I was welcomed to different events
and really enjoyed the hustle and bustle of the day. I am comforted in knowing that there is a special Guardian Angel looking down on the Miller Family. Rest in Peace Barb.
Posted by Bev Mandery on March 24, 2020
Dad Mandery and Bev Mandery met Barb for the first time September, 2019. This was a birthday celebration for Ben and myself, and my children were there. My sons immediately fell in love with Barb and her humor. We also immediately loved this woman. She was so special at this one and only time we met her. "When bulbs I lay beneath the sod for winter's sleep, my quiet trust and faith in God is strong and deep. I fear no gloom in hiding clay. For I can see bright tulips in far off May." Will Miss you Barbara.
Posted by Keith Pfarr on March 23, 2020
Thoughts and prayers to you and your family, Charlie. Like you, I love my mom and dad, dearly. My thoughts and prayers to you, Mary Ellen, Callie Jo, Lauren, Alison, Alyssa, Dylan, Lee, and Henry. I pray that you know your mother is at peace and looking over all of you from heaven.
To the entire Miller family, my condolences ❤️ 
Posted by Leah Prahl on March 23, 2020
This woman! Can I take a moment to celebrate this woman, who we loved? Wife of 66 years, Mother of 15, grandma of 60, great-grandma of 41. She showed us the joy of having a big family, taught us to be strong and determined, to always work hard, be independent and challenge anything that stands in our way. An era ended for the Miller family, but Grandma's legacy is present every day in the way we live our lives. Grandma Miller, you were simply amazing and will be missed beyond measure. ❤️
Posted by Lexi Martin on March 23, 2020
Love you lots Grandma! We will miss your sweet smile, your warm embraces, and watching you beat all the boys at the tractor pulls :) The mighty Miller family will greatly miss their beloved matriarch
Posted by Matt Weiers on March 23, 2020
Grandma Miller will be missed in so many ways but her legacy will live forever in the hundreds of lives she touched. She was a shining example of everything a person should aspire to be. Strong and able, confident yet still humble. Hardworking in a way I can only hope to emulate. She led her clan of a family by her actions long before words became necessary. While she was kind and caring and I always knew her soft side. She was also fierce and had high expectations for her family. Grandma is legendary in so many ways, we all have our cherished memories of her Christmas gift expertise, her physical remembrance for every one of her grandchildren in the form of the afghans she made for us all; often making them while sitting in the semi in the grain line at the elevator.
 Grandma had so much love to share she managed to make every member of her prodigious family feel like the only one in the house just for a moment. She will be missed by more people than any of us realize but she will not be forgotten by a single one of them. I will continue to live my life by the example that Grandma showed me every single day of her life.
 I love you Grandma.

P. S. She also made the best apple pie I've ever tasted and I will never find its match.
Posted by MikeLuann Card on March 23, 2020
This precious lady will always be with you. Gods grace to you all.  We are thinking of you. Mike and Lu Ann
Posted by Paul Hanson on March 22, 2020
We will all miss Her smile and blonde hair blowing in the wind as She full pulled !!!!!!!!! R.I.P. Now to see Her we can look up and still see the Black Smoke Roll in Heaven.
Posted by David Woestehoff on March 22, 2020
Dear Val & family,
Barb has always been a good neighbor & a kind and selfless person - thinking of others and putting others first. We wish to extend our sympathy to you. She will be greatly missed!
Dave & Krista

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Jim Hermel on April 19, 2020
Dear Val, and the entire Miller Family
Val, I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your wonderful wife. I did not know her that well, but knew she was one hell of a lady. 66 years with her Val is truly amazing for the love and stability you both showed to each other, and the family you built. I remember talking with her one time, she was in your car knitting or something, and I had the greatest visit with her, while you were in Wholesale. Doug, Charlie, Billy, Mary Lou, Diane, Tammy, Bret and the entire family, have peace in the Lord!
Jim Hermel
Posted by Carol Dvorak on April 5, 2020
We were sad to read about Barb's passing. Our deepest sympathy to Val and her entire family. It was a pleasure to get to know Barb when I worked at Union Hill. A truly amazing and honorable woman with a beautiful smile.
God Bless
Carol Dvorak and Ronald Ruhland

Posted by Delores McKenna on March 29, 2020
Dear Val and Family,We were shocked to hear of Barb"s passing Our prayers are with you. Barb was the most hardworking person we knew.  We will miss her and her beautiful smile,she was always so friendly and made us feel so comfortable.      Dick & Delores McKenna





















Recent stories

Simply the best

Shared by Val Miller on March 24, 2020
I have started and stopped this post several times the past couple of days. Nothing I write seems to be enough to describe how I felt about the lady I was blessed to call my Mother in law. She never made me feel like a daughter in law. She always said once you were married you were hers - never treated differently or less.

She taught me  how to can her famous apple butter. Because of her I got to learn what tractor pulling is and was blessed enough to watch her pull. It was such an honor to be that close to the "queen of tractor pulling"

One of my very favorite things about Barb was her ability to have fun and dance. That woman could dance and could keep up with anyone on the floor. The Red Door will not be the same with out her. 

I just hope she knows how much she was loved in this life and how I thank God every day that she gave me this gift of a husband I couldn't live without and a Miller clan I cherish. Heaven gained the best angel. xoxoxo - Theresa 

To the Beat of Their Own Drum

Shared by Joseph Weiers on March 24, 2020
Grandma and Grandpa Miller have always lived their life together in their own way, to the beat of their own drum. Whether it comes to raising a family, farming, having fun or just living life, they did it their own way! 
Some of the most intense memories I have from my childhood are from Miller Family Christmas. A small part of me would dread it but most of me was excited for the chaos that was about to take place. Being a kid in a house FULL of 100+ people was overwhelming but I would never give it for the opportunity to spend time with cousins who were some of my closest friends (and still are) and even a few special minutes with Grandma or Grandpa. A part of Grandma that will always live with me are the gifts I received from her. I have a toolbox full of Craftsman tools that she carefully picked out so I never received duplicates but also which tools were the most useful. I don't think there is any other grandkid that has gotten 1/2" deep well impact sockets from their grandma with the advise that "these are the good ones that won't break". She knew that because she used them! More than the tools, it is the work ethic that Grandma and Grandpa have was passed on to all of us to use them. Every time I make a repair with my tools and save some money (also a very important lesson to be learned from them) I can thank Grandma!
Watching the two of them operate the farm was just awe inspiring! Again, what other kid (beside other Miller grandkids) get to tell their friends, "oh look, there goes my grandma in her semi!" It always took a lot of convincing to get them to believe me. She was the Jill of all trades, worked the ground, driving the trucks, shoveling bins, hauling fuel and anything and everything else right by Grandpa's side. I always loved the opportunity to ride with them in the field and still do to this day. Harvest of 2016 they must have thought I was stalking them as I would show up unannounced to come for a ride and get some pictures and video. I was able to make a video for them (which is attached to this story). I feel so fortunate to be able to do this for them when I did.
Grandma definitely had her own way of having fun! Again, what kid gets to tell his friends about his BADASS tractor pulling Grandma! These will also be memories and mental images forever ingrained in my mind! A two foot flame out the top of the stack, a black column of smoke you could see from a mile away, front tires off the ground with the tractor screaming down the track with Grandma there in her short sleeve blouse shirt (usually a pastel) in total control of the chaos. It was almost a guarantee she had the winning pull, but would come back to the pits and discuss with Grandpa and her sons how this or that needed to be tweaked for a better pull next time.

Grandma, I don't know if you knew what an incredible person you really were, but if you did, you didn't show it, you were just too humble. Heaven is a better place now with you there and I have comfort in the fact that you can watch over us as we all try strive to live up to the unbelievable legacy you left. I miss you so much but thank you for the memories and life lessons I will have forever.

Love, Your Grandson Joe
Shared by Abigail Weiers on March 23, 2020
I feel so proud to be part of the lineage of strong, hardworking, and caring women that came from Grandma Miller. Grandma taught me that you can go against the grain and break gender stereotypes one day, and still enjoy baking pies, black Friday shopping and lunch with your girls the next–a lesson that I will keep with me forever. I love you Grandma!