Obituary for Susanna Masters Miller
Susanna Masters Miller (Seattle WA 2 March1944- 2 February 2018 Burlington VT)
Susanna Masters Miller died Friday, February 2 2018, one month shy of her 74th birthday at UVM Medical Center, Burlington, Vermont after several years of poor health. She had moved to Burlington in November 2014 to be closer to her daughter. She was a resident of St Joseph’s Home. One friend noted that, despite her many medical challenges, she kept her spirit strong and her creativity flowing, writing poetry and prose as well as volunteering with students from St. Michaels College. In her 2017 Christmas letter, Susanna remarked that she had lived longer than either of her parents.
The daughter of Robert Edmund Masters (1913-1983) and Betty Williams (1917-1990), Susanna grew up in suburban Philadelphia and graduated from Nether Providence High School, now Strath-Haven High School, where she excelled academically and earned varsity letters in basketball, lacrosse and field hockey.
As a girl, Susanna left Philadelphia every summer to attend Camp Archbald, a Girl Scout camp in Northeastern Pennsylvania. A friend remembers her as a most enthusiastic camper whether it was pitching a tent, building a campfire, hiking, swimming, or canoeing.
Susanna Masters Miller graduated from Alfred University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology in 1966, and participated in chorus, inter-sorority council, student government, and was a sister of Theta Theta Chi. While an undergraduate, Susanna was employed with the admissions office as a campus tour guide. She worked summers as a waitress at Kubell's Tavern in Barnegat Light Long Beach Island, NJ and at the Chatham Bars Inn, Chatham, Cape Cod, MA and at the FBI Field Office in Philadelphia where her father was a Special Agent.
In 1969, she received a Master of Social Work from New York University, working her way through graduate school by babysitting and other jobs. She spent a summer term at the London School of Economics, and connected with distant cousins from the UK are Ireland.
She began her professional career as a social worker at Children's Aid Society in New York City. Frustrated by an uncaring bureaucracy, she applied to the General Electric Employee Relations Management Program and was the third woman to be accepted into it. In 1969, during her first rotation in GE's Power System Field Sales in Newark, New Jersey, she met Karl F. Miller whom she married in 1972. Susanna's second job was at GE's light bulb manufacturing facility also in Newark, NJ. There she was particularly proud of helping several women to move up from custodial work to well-paid positions as mechanics.
In 1972, Susanna and Karl Miller moved to Schenectady, NY where she worked as Director of the Union College Office of Career Counseling and Placement. At Union, she was instrumental in convincing the Provost to dedicate a house on campus to be repurposed as a childcare center for her infant son, Steven Masters Miller, and other faculty and staff children. At Union College she volunteered as coach for the newly-formed Women's Lacrosse Club. While in Schenectady, she also co-founded and facilitated several women's consciousness raising groups.
After moving to Philadelphia, PA in 1978, Susanna Miller became the Assistant Director of the Office of Career Counseling and Placement at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and later a career counselor at Options for Women, part of Women's Way, the first and largest women’s fundraising coalition in the United States. In 1992 Susanna worked on Lynn Yeakel’s campaign for U.S. Senate where she nearly defeated incumbent Senator Arlen Specter. Susanna Miller also worked as Director of Development at the Foundation for Architecture and recruited students in the Philadelphia area for her alma mater, Alfred University. Later in life she also worked as an advisor to Girls Inc in Philadelphia.
A life-long Episcopalian, Susanna was a member of St. Peter's Church, Philadelphia for over thirty years and served as a member of its Vestry. Her children attended St. Peter’s School and she accompanied its Choir of Men and Boys on several international trips.
She is survived by her son Steven Miller [married to Vanessa Camilleri] of Silver Spring, MD, and daughter Sarah Miller Maher [married to Tim Maher] of Essex Junction VT; her sister Liz Bermingham [married to Scott Bermingham] of Lake Bluff, IL; grandsons Samuel and Sebastian Miller; her former husband Karl F Miller; and a number of nieces and nephews. Her brother, Robert Lee Masters, predeceased her.
A funeral/memorial service will be held at St. Peter's Church, 313 Pine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106 on March 24, 2018 at 11:00 am. Interment will be at St. Peter's Church.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in her memory to any of these organizations that have been meaningful to her:
Women's Way, 123 South Broad Street, Suite 1320, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19109, 215.985.3322, email@example.com
St Peter’s Church, 313 Pine Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylania 19106
St Joseph’s Residential Home, 243 N. Prospect St, Burlington VT 05401