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Teresa J. Miller, 89 years old, passed away peacefully and surrounded by family on October 29, 2018, at the Autumn House in Grants Pass, Oregon. She was born in Tracy, California, the daughter of first generation Italian immigrants, Palmer and Teresa Zottola. She graduated from Grants Pass High School in 1946, and Marylhurst College in 1950. Teresa started her teaching career at Lincoln Elementary School in Grants Pass, and she went on to teach second and third grade at Washington Elementary School, Allendale Elementary School and eventually retired from Riverside Elementary School in 1987.
It was at Lincoln Elementary where she found and was courted by the love of her life, Richard D. Miller. They were married on July 28, 1957, and started their family in a house beside the Rogue River. Together they raised three daughters and two sons who proudly carry on the strong family structure and commitment that were so important to her and Richard.
Teresa was a very compassionate and caring mother and teacher who loved her children and students dearly. Her deep faith and Christian values were always front-and-center, and she espoused an intense love for her family that was felt within every hug she gave. Teresa’s Italian heritage was prominent in her exceptional cooking skills that were on display daily until her later years, but many of her and her children’s favorite recipes will continue to be used, shared, and enjoyed for many years to come.
Although Teresa was not a traditional outdoorsman, she was always with her family camping, hiking, beachcombing, swimming, boating, or next to her husband salmon fishing in the Queen Charlotte Islands. She took advantage of those opportunities to also inject her favorite hobbies that included knitting, sewing, reading, cross-stitching, and enjoying the laughter of her family – many hobbies her children now cherish as well.
She was a talented piano player who shared her love of music with her family, friends, and students. As a dedicated member of St. Anne’s Church in Grants Pass, she played the organ that accompanied the choir and supported other church services for many years.
Teresa spent her retirement years, by Richard’s side, traveling the United States and Canada, exploring Amish country looking for handmade quilts, frequenting and amazingly winning at her favorite slot-machines at Seven Feathers and in Reno, knitting and cross-stitching gifts for her children and friends, and visiting her grandchildren across Oregon, Washington and Massachusetts.
Teresa is preceded in death by her husband of 61 years, Richard D. Miller; her brother, Edmund Zottola; her niece, Verna (Zottola) Scott; and her nephew, Robert Zottola. She is survived by her brothers and their spouses, Palmer and Mildred Zottola, Ernie and Dianna Zottola, and Marsha Zottola (widow of Edmund); her five children and their spouses Mary and David VanHoomissen, Richard and Mary Kay Miller, Sally Miller and Hanna Vaandering, Thomas and Gail Miller, and Teresa and fianc Robert Scacco; and her 11 grandchildren Kristen VanHoomissen, Joseph VanHoomissen and fianc Kendel Kuhn, Patrick Miller, Ryan Miller, Casey Miller, Annie Miller, Erin Miller, Tyler Scacco and fianc Ashely Olson and Travis Scacco.
A Rosary Prayer will commence at 10:30am followed immediately by a Funeral Mass at 11:00am on November 17th at St Anne’s Church in Grants Pass, OR. Donations in lieu of flowers can be made in Teresa’s memory to the Dementia Society of America or the Asante Hospice Foundation.
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