Eleanora Brown Miller was born in Fruitdale, SD, on August 25, 1932. She was the sixth child of four girls and six boys. Her parents were David Brown and Marie Luft Brown who were Germans that immigrated from Russia in the early 20th century. They became beet farmers, raising and selling beets to the U and I Sugar Beet Factory east of Belle Fourche.
Through her early school career, Eleanora attended schools in Fruitdale, Belle Fourche/Nisland and Newell/Vale areas. The family moved to Sturgis where Eleanora continued her education at Sturgis High School until 1952 when she graduated.
During her high school years, she had a job as a waitress at the Keen Eats Cafe in downtown Sturgis. The Sturgis Taxi ran their business out of the cafe and this was when she met one of the taxi owners, Ernie Miller. He stole her heart and they were married on August 17, 1952. He called her his “trophy wife”! They were married 70 years until Ernie’s death in December of 2022.
After their marriage in 1952, Eleanora was a busy housewife and stay-at-home mom to their children, Melvin and Lynelle. When they entered school, she worked several jobs through the next 35 years or so. During the week, she actually drove the Sturgis Taxi for a couple hours each day when Ernie drove the school bus. She babysat several children and took in laundry and ironing for extra money. Later Eleanora was a teacher’s aide for the Sturgis Public Schools, as well as a superintendent for the Grace Lutheran Church Sunday School.
For several years, she worked for the Meade County Times / Sturgis Tribune newspapers and was a clerk for Haley’s Tri-State Auction. She also took a position as a painter for Ft. Meade Veteran’s Hospital with Bonnie Clark (Danny Chapman’s mother). They eventually branched out and painted the interiors of many area homes (along with wall-papering!). Her longest and most favorite job was working with her son-in-law, Danny Chapman, at Prairie Edge creating a wide variety of Native American art pieces and reproductions.
Bowling was one of her hobbies and she participated in regional, state, and national bowling competitions. For many years she was in charge of the youth bowling league in Sturgis. She coached and taught bowling every Saturday during the school year to dozens of local teenagers. The highlight of all this was having one of her bowlers, Jerry Mushitz, receive national youth bowling honors at a national tournament in Washington, DC.
Other hobbies included cutting hair for friends and family, both male and female, over the years. Eleanora also adored quilting and counted cross stitch. She loved giving her many finished pieces to family and friends and even created pieces for the church youth fundraisers.
One of her great passions was entertaining family and friends. There was always a crowd of people at her home on Thanksgiving, Easter and Christmas. She created a Santa Claus suit for Santa to appear at their home every year when her grandchildren were there! Another favorite and fun holiday for Eleanora was Halloween … for years she would dress-up as a witch to greet all the trick-or-treaters with her “witches cackle”! She enjoyed putting together family reunions for the Brown-Luft clans where she could cook German food dishes from her mother’s recipes.
As a gramma, Eleanora adored giving “butterfly kisses” and singing “You are My Sunshine” to her grandchildren as well as any other baby or child near to her. In her later years, every week she was a staple at Weimer’s Diner and Donuts along with her best coffee buddies. She also looked forward to her weekly hairdressing appointments for herself and always attending services at Grace Lutheran Church. She always greeted you with a smile, kiss or fist!!
Eleanora was a busy, busy lady. She touched so many lives in her own special way. What a wonderful life. God Bless.
Eleanora Brown Miller, 91, of Sturgis, SD, passed away at Monument Health Sturgis Care Center on Friday, October 6, 2023.
She is survived by her 2 children, Melvin (Kerri Ann) Miller and Lynelle (Danny) Chapman; grandchildren, twins Adam (Keri) and Conrad (Jaci), Judson (Kelley), Zachary (Amy), and McKenzie Miller, along with Danilee (Shawn) Pudwill and Caleb (Sara) Chapman; great grandchildren, Adeline, Elijah, Piper, and Kennedy Miller, plus Sawyer and Coy Chapman, and Beckem and Brexten Pudwill. She is also survived by her siblings, Martha McGuire, Dorothy McGuire, Betty Rose Yeoman, and Richard Brown, as well as multiple nieces and nephews.
Eleanora was preceded in death by her husband, Ernie; her parents, David and Marie Brown; and her brothers, Harold, David, John, Jacob, and George Brown.
Visitation will be Wednesday, October 11, 2023, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m., at Kinkade Funereal Chapel, Sturgis, SD. Funeral Services will be Thursday, October 12, 11:00 a.m., at Grace Lutheran Church in Sturgis. Burial will follow at Black Hills National Cemetery.
In Lieu of flowers a memorial has been established to Grace Lutheran Church, Sturgis, SD.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.kinkadefunerals.com.