Gaphina Wade Miller
Big Stone Gap, VA – Gaphina Wade Miller passed away Sunday, February 13, 2022.
Gaphina Wade Miller arrived in Woodway, Virginia on a Thursday, April 23, 1936, at the home of her parents, William and Mae Wade. Although we are not exactly sure where or how her mother came up with the beautiful name of Gaphina, we do know that it was mis-pronounced almost without fail her entire life, so for this official record, it is correctly pronounced “Ja-pi-na”. By all accounts, it appears to be a one-of-a-kind name, so it is just fitting that it is for a one-of-a-kind person.
She grew up in poverty like most in the mountains of Appalachia back then, so her childhood memories consisted mostly of hard work helping raise siblings and cooking for farmhands with little play. She enjoyed school, learning (dreamed of being a teacher) and playing basketball at Dryden High School where she graduated in 1955. She soon moved to Indianapolis and worked for Magnavox as a supervisor on a top-secret government contract. She met and married Denny Miller in 1959 and they moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana to start their family. Following his unexpected death in 1968, Gaphina moved back to the mountains with her babies and bought the family farm in the Wildcat section of Big Stone Gap where she taught herself to drive a car. She single-handedly raised 3 children, bought their first cars and sent them all to college without borrowing a single dime from anyone. Her family was without a doubt, her highest and proudest accomplishment, but she knew and told everyone who would listen that she never could have done it without the Lord’s help. He was real to her because she had personally received from His hand of provision and protection her entire life.
Gaphina worked hard her entire life, not just because she had to most of the time, but because she was a doer. One of her greatest complaints about growing old was that she couldn’t “do” anything like she used to. When she was able to she loved cooking/baking, sewing/quilting and probably most of all, gardening, especially flowers. Everyone who ever saw it knew what a beautiful yard she kept because something was always blooming. She could grow about anything and was never shy to pull the car over when we were younger and have one of us kids get her “a start” that would eventually flourish in our yard. She will probably be in-charge of flowers in Heaven, if not right away, in very short order if she has her way because whoever is doing it, probably needs some coaching…from her perspective.
She was a woman of great and simple faith who in one of her last conversations gave thanks to God for never leaving her, whether it was on the highest mountain top or in the lowest valley. Goodness and mercy followed her all the days of her life and she knew it and was grateful.
She peacefully passed away after a courageous battle with cancer surrounded by her family on February 13th, 2022. She was lovingly and selflessly well cared for by her daughter Cindy the last 2 years of her life in Indiana. She loved sitting out on the porch on warm days enjoying the gentle Hoosier breezes, watching the birds at the feeders and foolin’ with the potted plants as only she could. She will be greatly missed by her kids, grandkids and great grandkids and all who knew her, but we take great comfort in knowing she is in the Lord’s presence and gathered to her people. She is in His presence and alive forevermore.
Gaphina is survived by her son Dennis (Mary) Miller of Indianapolis; grandson Denny (Abby) Miller of Fishers, IN and their sons Charles and Harrison Miller; granddaughter Erica (Nathan) Glasener of New Palestine, IN and their daughter Alexandra.
Gaphina is also survived by her son Michael (Teri) Miller of Ann Arbor, MI; granddaughter Carli (Cole) Richards of Valley Center, CA, and their daughter Stevie; granddaughter Mallory (Jacob) Ingram of Ann Arbor, MI and their sons Silas and Brady; and grandson Nicholas Miller of Spring Valley, CA.
Gaphina is also survived by her daughter Cindy (Jeff) Ingle of Shelbyville, IN; granddaughter Jessica (Ben) Greenhut of Shelbyville, IN and their sons Jacob and Noah; and granddaughter Jordan (engaged to Kyle Lundberg) Ingle of Greensboro, NC.
Gaphina is also survived by her brothers Donald (Marlene), Kenneth, Greg (Deborah), Tony and her sister Billie Canfield. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews, cousins, and countless friends. She is preceded in death by her husband Denny Miller; parents Bill and Mae Wade; brothers Wayne, Ronnie, and Michael; sisters Joan Guthrie and Jwantana Phillips.
Visitation will be held on February 16th from 4:30pm-6:30pm at Gilliam Funeral Home & Crematory, 618 Wood Avenue W, Big Stone Gap, VA 24219. The funeral will immediately follow the visitation at 6:30pm with Matthew Clark and Alan Collier ministering. Burial will take place the following day with a private graveside service at Washington Park Memorial Cemetery in Indianapolis where she will be laid to rest.
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Gilliam Funeral Home is honored to serve the family of Gaphina Miller.