MIDLAND, MI – Ruth McBride Miller, 92, of Midland, MI, died in the early morning hours of Feb. 5, 2021 at Bickford Senior Living in Midland.
The daughter of the late George F. and Rosa Virgene McBride, Ruth was born on May 24, 1928 outside of the coal mining town of Luhrig, OH in the hills of Athens County, where she was raised and educated. She graduated from Waterloo High School in 1946, and was told by her father that he “took care of her for eighteen years, now git.” With no place to go, she boarded a bus for Dayton and found work caring for a physician’s children; assisting in the office; and studying nursing while working.
Ruth was diagnosed with polio in 1949 and spent several weeks in an iron lung – tortured by the cries of the children in the polio ward. It was while in the iron lung that she heard what became her favorite poem, My Gethsemane, read as the radio station broadcast (that was piped into the ward) was signing off for the night. She begged the staff to obtain a copy of that poem for her which she has treasured and shared throughout her life. The name of the poet has never been discovered. After learning to walk again with one totally numb foot, the following year she contracted tuberculosis and had a short stay at Dayton’s TB sanatorium. These challenges made her the strong, understanding, and kind woman she became for the rest of her life.
It was in Dayton that Ruth met James Miller, a lieutenant in the Air Force, and they married on June 7, 1952. Following Jim’s discharge, they moved to Midland, MI, when he accepted a job offer from Dow Chemical.
Ruth enjoyed painting with watercolors, a talent at which she excelled. Many people received notecards from Ruth printed with her various nature-themed watercolor paintings. She also shared her love of poetry and was often requested to recite poems (especially My Gethsemane) at various locations, including friends’ homes, hospital emergency rooms, nursing homes, and also by telephone. Ruth was always there to help friends, neighbors, and anyone in need.
Ruth is survived by her children, Mary Miller (Gerald Siclovan) of Ann Arbor, Jeffrey (Loretta Kane) Miller of Grand Rapids, and Susan Miller of Midland who was Ruth’s loving caregiver for the past 15 years. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Maureen (Jeremy) Sorrells of Memphis, TN and Michael Miller (Lluvia Rodas) of Chicago, IL; and her great-grandchildren, Lydia Ruth, Ian Kane, and Hugh Alexander Sorrells. Ruth is also survived by a dear nephew, David McBride, of Athens County, as well as a sister-in-law, Barbara McBride of Albany, OH. In addition she is survived by many friends and neighbors.
Ruth was preceded in death by her husband, James; her son, Michael; her parents; brothers, Reid McBride and Nicky McBride; her sister-in-law, Edna McBride; and her dear grandmother, Elma Beckler.
The family wishes to send a special thank you to the staff at Bickford Senior Living in Midland for their care and compassion; Mid-Michigan Home Care Hospice Program; and Midland Family Physicians.
Cremation has taken place and there will be no service.
Remember Ruth by stopping to enjoy the beauty of nature as it changes through the four seasons – take notice of striking sunsets, interesting trees, flowers, streams, barns, and older buildings; and read a poem or two.
Those considering an expression of sympathy are requested to donate to the charity of their choice.
The last stanza of her favorite poem, My Gethsemane, seems appropriate to close Ruth’s obituary:
Quite suddenly my fears were gone,
And sweet peace came to me,
Because my Lord was at my side
In my Gethsemane.