Jane B. Miller, 95, passed away on December 14, 2020 from complications of the CoronaVirus. Married to Dr. Albert W. Miller (Orsch) for almost 70 years, Janie ("Orschie") was his beloved partner, soul mate, receptionist and best friend. She also was a loving mother to Fred (Robin), Randy (Barbara) and Ron Miller, and a beloved grandmother of Stephanie Miller, Jeremy (Kaylie) Miller, Lauren (Drew) Kipfer, Deborah (Mark) Raines, Eric Miller, and three great grandchildren, Sidney Kipfer, Rebecca Raines and Henry Miller.
Jane (given name of Juliana Bertha) was born on January 29, 1925, in Vienna, Austria, to Ernst and Helene (Kucki) Goldberger, who predeceased her as did her older brother, Paul Goldberger. She had changed her name to Jane upon arrival to the United States.
Jane often reflected on her wonderful childhood in Vienna. She and her brother, Paul, along with their parents, often went to the mountains and stayed in their summer/winter family home where Jane learned to appreciate nature, skiing and swimming. Raised by cooks and nannies, she recalled fondly how each morning her bare feet rarely touched the floor as her "fraulie" always put Jane's slippers on her feet before getting out of bed.
Jane attended public school in the 20th District of Vienna where almost half the students in her class were Jewish. As was typical of many German-Austrian Jews at that time, Jane had grown up with a Christmas tree in her home and basically learned about Judaism as part of her religion class in school. Her family rarely attended synagogue.
Following Krystallnacht, or the night of the broken glass in November of 1938, Jane's mother and her older brother, Paul, were forced to scrub graffiti off the synagogue wall with a toothbrush and a bucket of water as a form of public humiliation. As anti-semitic attacks increased significantly in Vienna and the Nuremberg laws were put in place, life got worse for the Jews and Jane's parents recognized it was time to leave Austria. They made arrangements to cross the Austrian-Czechoslovakia border in the middle of the night. Jane was 14 at the time, and would recall how sad she was to say goodbye to all her boyfriends she had left behind. "I must have been an idiot as I never really thought about how nervous my parents must have been." In reality, Jane was not an idiot at all. She merely was a teenager and a very social one at that, who simply disliked school, loved boys, and wanted to have fun.
In Czechoslovakia, Janie and her best friend, who was also from Vienna, attended public school together in Prague. But in March of 1939 the Nazis took over Prague and the Jewish students at Jane's school were forced to sit separately on yellow benches. Jane came home from school and told her parents and her parents said she no longer had to attend school. Given Jane's dislike for school in general, she was thrilled to hear this news, and even more thrilled that she and her best friend could spend their days roaming the streets of Prague.
Jane's parents eventually secured visas to come to America. They were sponsored by a relative who was the treasurer of Halle's Department Store in Cleveland Ohio. They moved to Shaker Heights Ohio where Jane attended high school. Jane could not speak a word of English and cried every day at her locker.
Jane and her entire family had a tough time adjusting to American life in Cleveland. Her parents were not particularly fond of their new surroundings so they decided to relocate to Riverdale New York where Jane completed high school, secretarial school, and then met the love of her life, Dr. Albert W. Miller.
In October of 1950 Janie and Al were fixed up on a blind date by a mutual friend who had known Al when he lived in Berlin. At the time Al was working in Toledo Ohio after having completed his military service as a Ritchie Boy in the U.S. Army and his studies at the University of Cincinnati and the University of Chicago. Al drove from Toledo Ohio to New York City to meet Janie for the first time, and after being together on six separate occasions between the months of January and March, they decided to marry on March 24, 1951, a marriage that lasted almost 70 glorious years. When Jane was asked what is the secret to a good, long marriage, she often said, "Just say yes and then do what you want" or as it is said in German, "Sagst ja."
Jane and Al made their first home in Toledo, Ohio, where their son, Fred was born. They then moved to Hamilton Ohio where their two other sons, Randy and Ron were born. Al practiced optometry for almost 40 years with Jane serving as his secretary/receptionist most of those years. Being the people person that she was, Jane knew everything about every single one of Al's numerous patients. While Al spent his day looking into his patients' eyes, Jane looked into their hearts and souls. As a result, the reception area became a place where patients did not mind waiting at all.
Janie, Al and their three sons became enmeshed with the close-knit Jewish community of Hamilton and Beth Israel Synagogue. Janie and Al were also very active in civic life. This included their affiliations with The New London Swim and Tennis Club, Riverside Racquet Club, the YMCA, the Rotary Club, the Hamilton Civic Theatre, the Fitton Center, and many other local organizations.
Jane was a voracious reader. She loved to play tennis and volunteer. Together Jane and Al traveled to Israel, went on many Club Med vacations, and traveled many times to Europe where they enjoyed hiking in the mountains, touring, and visiting family who remained in Vienna.
In 2010, Jane and Al moved to Cincinnati to be closer to their children and grandchildren. During that time Jane joined book clubs, learned to play bridge and accompanied her husband Al on his many speaking engagements affiliated with the Center for Holocaust and Humanity. Jane was immediately embraced by many new friends in Cincinnati and was always grateful that they moved when they did.
Jane truly never knew a stranger. Always a good listener, Jane thrived on what she learned about others and if she could be of help to them, her friends thrived even more. Most of her friends' children and her nieces and nephew saw her as their second mother and most of her grown children's friends saw her as their friend. Her children and grandchildren adored her. They often confided in her, and in return she offered sound advice while loving them unconditionally. No wife, mother, grandmother or friend was more honest, kind and caring than Jane. She only wanted everyone she loved to be healthy and happy, as she had learned early in life what really mattered most.
Jane will be deeply missed by her family and her many friends both near and far, young and old. Her passing leaves a large and heavy hole in our hearts. But the only thing Jane would ever want from all of us, including her beloved Orschie of 70 years, is to continue to celebrate life and to "enjoy every minute."
In honor of her memory, the Miller family asks that donations be made to the Holocaust and Humanity Center of Cincinnati, Beth Israel Synagogue of Hamilton Ohio, the Jewish National Fund and the Freestore Foodbank of Cincinnati.