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Rugby: A good fit for a student of life

Janet Miller has embraced life with joy and enthusiasm

November 26, 2010
By Terri Kelly Barta

Janet Miller is a student of life or as she calls herself, a professional student. She has many interests, has gone many places and done many things.

Before coming to Rugby four years ago, she made up a list of qualities in a town and Rugby fit. She comes to Rugby by way of Arizona, by way of New York.

It has been an interesting life for Miller, one she has embraced with joy and enthusiasm. Her mother had relatives in Nova Scotia and Miller spent time there as she was growing up. She mainly grew up in Queens, New York. Since her home was only two blocks from one of the entrances, Miller went to the 1964 World's Fair.

"It was exciting," she said.

She went back and forth between parts of Canada and the United States throughout her life. She has degrees in nursing and electronics and a masters degree in horticulture/plant pathology. She loves to learn and experience.

Her heart's dream was to be an astronomer, but she soon learned that was a competitive field and she didn't feel she had a strong enough math background to compete.

She has tried her hand at several occupations over the years. Miller was a registered nurse and worked in both New York and Arizona. She worked in an electronics lab for awhile. She sewed theatrical costumes for Gilbert and Sullivan Theater. These were not job-jumping exactly, more like a variety of mini careers to suit her interests.

For instance, she learned that an observatory in south Tucson, Arizona, had an opening for a telescope operator. Although she had no idea what a telescope operator actually does, she decided to apply. This was a research telescope. With only three hundred research telescopes in the world at that time, according to Miller, users highly valued their time on it. People doing research for a specific project would garner time on the telescope to observe and record data. If the weather was bad, Miller had to close the telescope for viewing and the data was lost to the researchers.

"They couldn't re-schedule time to collect that particular data, so it was lost," said Miller.

When she worked on the telescope she would take food and clothing, everything she needed for a week, and go up to the telescope and stay there. She worked 17 hours a day during that week, then she got two weeks off.

"If the telescope was working you could get a break (in that 17 hours), if it wasn't, you couldn't," said Miller.

Miller met the love of her life in the early 1990s on a small golf course in Arizona. His name was George Miller. He had been married before but his wife, died.

"I was just learning to play golf," said Miller. "He asked to play through and I said, of course."

As the story goes, George watched her play and suggested they play together. Janet and George eloped to Las Vegas on July 27. She had told him to take care of wedding arrangements and he did. For Janet who was in her fifties, it was her first marriage. The couple eloped to Las Vegas on July 27.

"Somehow I just knew and so did he," said Janet with a sparkle in her eye.

They enjoyed each other's company for seven years, traveling and experiencing life together. They were both very active in the Lions Club serving as officers. They went overseas together on trips with the Lions Club. Marrying later in life, they had no children together but George had two sons, each born on the 27th of a month. George had an undiagnosed aneurysm and died, interestingly, on the 27th day of the month in 2000.

Janet picked up where she had left off and decided to move out of the sunbelt in Arizona to a northern location. She went with a friend to Bismarck and liked North Dakota. She looked at Bottineau as a place to live but when they drove through Rugby, she decided she liked the town and chose to move here.

One thing she has learned along the way, "when you move somewhere you need to get involved in that community." Since coming to Rugby, she has volunteered at the hospital and the Prairie Village Museum. She also belongs to the Lions Club here.

She has been all over the world to places like Australia, Fiji, Tahiti, Hawaii, but where she decided to live is in Rugby, North Dakota with her two dogs, Opal and Onyx.



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