Judith (Enhauge) Miller
Life and Work
Judith was born on October 8, 1909 in Clinton, Wisconsin, the fourth of six girls. Her parents had immigrated from Denmark to Chicago where her father ran a book store. He had always wanted to farm, however, moving first to Wisconsin and then in September of 1910 to Dickson, Alberta to establish a homestead in a community of Danish Lutheran families. Judith grew up in Dickson where she lived until 1926 when her parents moved to Victoria. Judith had finished grade 11 in Calgary and had taken teacher training, so stayed in Alberta.
Judith has many happy memories of farm life, including milking four cows every day by the time she was six years old. Her love of horses, their family pets, picking berries, canning many quarts of garden produce, haying and generally working at all the tasks of the farm were part of her busy childhood.
Judith received her schooling up to grade nine in the one-room school at Dickson and her high school in Calgary. In 1927 Judith completed normal school and subsequently taught at Spruce View, Endiang and Sheerness schools. Later she worked at housekeeping and childcare.
On June 27,1937, Judith married Jim Miller who had a farm six miles (9.7 kilometres) west of Sundre at Sunberry Valley. His wedding gift was a four year old black mare named "Star". They worked hard together to build up their farm and home. On April 1,1941, their daughter, Anne, was born in Olds.
In October, 1941 Jim joined the Canadian Army's Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. In 1943 Judith and daughter Anne went to Hamilton to be with Jim. While in Ontario, Judith worked for the British Supply Board inspecting artillery shells until Victory in Europe Day, May 1945. Judith and Anne returned to the farm, but Jim did not get back until December.
Farm life continued after the war with improvements to the house and new conveniences such as a gas powered washing machine and a '37 Ford Pick-up truck. Daughter Margaret was born on September 30,1946. The girls attended school in Sundre but still had to miss many days due to impassable roads. The family had acquired a piano and the girls took lessons. They were involved in church activities, 4H and ,of course, all the fun of farm life.
In 1955, the Millers bought the McKay brothers' farm and moved to their new home in May,1956. Judith planted lawn, flowers, hedges and a vegetable garden. Electricity finally reached them by Christmas, 1958.
Judith was involved in many community projects throughout the years. She worked on Gallup Poll surveys, and as Secretary-Treasurer of the Sundre Mutual Telephone Company. She served the Sundre Legion Ladies' Auxiliary holding all offices including ten years as secretary and chair of the Bursary Committee for more than 20 years. In 1968 Jim and Judith were part of a group of eight people who founded the Sundre Historical Society. They are very proud of the plaque they received on the thirtieth anniversary of the society. The Sundre and District Housing Society is another project owing much to Judith and Jim Miller. Beginning in 1975 they worked with Alberta Mortgage and Housing to get accommodations for seniors, resulting in the apartments and lodge now in use.
In 1988 Judith was nominated for Air Canada's Heart of Gold Award. A more deserving citizen would be hard to find.
In their retirement years Jim and Judith travelled to many places that had connection to their lives, including New Zealand where Jim was born, to England where he lived as a boy, and a motor trip across Canada and the United States to visit friends they made during Jim's time in the army and even back to Wisconsin to Judith's birthplace. They now live on an acreage on River Road near Sundre, spending their time keeping in touch with friends and family and looking back on their life as pioneers of Sundre.
Letter of Appreciation by Lillian McGonigal and Phyllis Burke
Jim and Judith Miller have been our friends for 40 years. Times were hard in the early years but Judith was never 'stumped' to be able to get together a very tasty, nourishing meal on the spur of the moment. It was a lot of work to have their own meat, eggs, milk and vegetables, and to make her own bread and churn butter. A lot of berries were picked in the summer.
Judith is a very good cook and makes everything a little tastier, and she loves sharing by bringing a taste of this and that—or berries and vegetables and her reading materials to her friends. On the spur of the moment, she will ask you to stay for lunch or supper— just put on another plate. The coffee is always on.
She has a zest for preserving nature's beauty—flowers close to extinction, some of extreme beauty and unusual structure.
Many years she spent identifying and tagging artifacts coming into the museum, and many of her lovely period clothes are displayed there.
A trait of Judith's we have always admired is her true interest in people. She makes a point of talking to those who may be new in town; have a unique type of work; have a handicap, etc. It's natural for her to make people feel welcome.
Her two girls have inherited their parents' wholesome way of living and their zest for nature, animals, travelling, horseback riding, and good times.
Thanks for being our friend. We have gone places together and had lots of good times. We do hope we can have many more.