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Grace Ann Miller died on February 27, 2008,                 me to read, to learn, to try new things, to reach into
        two days before her ninetieth birthday. Her         places where she had never been, and to stay gra-
six children were all with her, holding her hands, as       cious and appreciative of the advantages I inherited.
she left us. For all but a handful of days during
those ninety years she was fully with us:                          In this book you will hear memories about
witty, engaged, playful, and joyful at                                 Grace from her children, her grandchil-
our presence, just as she had been                                        dren and their extended families. Each
through all her life.                                                        one had a different relationship with
                                                                              her. I hope that through all of these
  Grace had a wonderful life, and                                              voices you will also hear the voice
she knew it. Even as her physical                                              and spirit of Grace Miller.
limits became more severe, she was                                               No one ever tells their mother
the nucleus around which our fam-                                             “thank you” enough. And when
ilies orbited and a force of connec-                                         she died, many unsaid “thank you’s”
tion between us. Family rituals, family                                   built up. How to express this gratitude
communications, and the acknowledge-                                   soon became obvious to me. Grace
ment of the growth in family numbers all
occurred more quickly and strongly because of                   respected education. She knew that she, person-
the gravitational force she provided.                       ally, could have benefited from more education than
                                                            what was available to her, and she wanted those ad-
  For me individually, she was a compelling set of          vantages for her children and grandchildren. I can’t
contrasts; she was accepting and accessible yet clear       think of a more appropriate way to say “thank you”
in her views of the values she expected me to live          than to let Grace give the gift of education to those
by. She stayed in touch but was never intrusive or          in her family who never had the joy of meeting her
demanding. Over the years I spent less time with            in person. In the following pages I hope you will
her than I now wish I had, although she never made           enjoy learning about the character of Grace Miller
me feel guilty. She was always appreciative of what I
did do, not critical of what I didn’t. She encouraged            —who she was and how she was perceived by

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