Fund Est. 2007
February 20, 1927 - June 19, 2007
"An inspiration" "Hard to replace" "One of a kind" "Always a pleasant word" "Caring, Compassionate, Professional" "The Mother of EMS"
Bette was highly educated, at time when women in higher education was not common. She held positions of great responsibility and was a well-respected professional. She taught various levels of students: elementary, middle school, high school, college, and adult education. She saved lives and taught others how to save lives. She has been referred to as the Mother of EMS.
She was admired by those with whom she worked, trained, and volunteered. She was an inspiration to all, but she would most want to be remembered as Clete's wife and John and Stephen's mother. She loved her family dearly and was an exemplary Christian woman.
Bette graduated from St. Joseph Hospital School of Nursing in Ft. Wayne, St. Louis University, and St. Francis University in Ft. Wayne. She taught at St. Vincent DePaul School of Nursing in St. Louis, Missouri, Decatur Catholic High School, and St. Joseph Catholic School in Decatur. She was the chief nurse at the Ft. Wayne Regional Blood Center and was instrumental in the establishment of the Adams County Emergency Medical Service, EMS. She relentlessly trained and re-trained hundreds, likely thousands, of Adams County residents in the life-saving technique: cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). She was considered a leader in northeast Indiana in the American Heart Association for her efforts to teach CPR.
Bette married Cletus B. Miller on July 4, 1955. She loved and lived for Clete. She was a very skillful professional, but after becoming Clete’s bride, she opted out of full time jobs for part time or volunteer positions as she always wanted to be available for Clete.
Bette was undoubtedly one of the most caring and giving persons ever. The first thing she would say, after sharing her warm, friendly, sincere smile, was "How is your family?" Bette was always sincere with her interest. She rallied through heart surgery, back surgery, lung cancer, breast cancer, rare aliments that affected her circulation and breathing. Yet, no one recalls that she ever complained about pain…or anything.
She volunteered at St. Joe Schools for years as a teacher (working a full day, but not getting paid), as she wanted the ability to be available for her family. Bette utilized her skills and education to become a valuable volunteer. She was a member of the St. Marys of the Assumption Catholic Church and volunteered there in various positions. She was active with the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society / the Relay for Life, the Adams Memorial Hospital, St. Vincent DePaul Society, and the Adams County Community Foundation.
Bette became associated with the Adams County Community Foundation (ACCF) in 2005 when the American Cancer Society (ACS) stopped doing the Cancer Tree at Scott’s Grocery Store. As the ACCF had established an Angel - Cancer Fund in the Foundation years earlier, it was natural for the Foundation to gladly accepted the opportunity to continue this holiday tradition and therefore, developed the Angel - Cancer Committee. Many of the volunteers were with the original ACS Angel Tree and transitioned to the ACCF Angel Tree. The committee was responsible for decorating the tree and handling the annual ‘envelope-stuffing’. Once the fund grew large enough, this committee became responsible for reviewing the applications from Adams County residents who requested funding assistance as a result of cancer related expenses.
It took very little time to recognize Bette’s dedication as a volunteer. She well-managed each and every assignment, tackled every task, excelled in each mission, volunteered for various duties (however complicated, time-consuming, or menial), and she did so pleasantly and thoroughly.
In 2006, Bette was invited to serve on the ACCF Grants Committee. Bette graciously accepted and made every effort to get to know the nonprofit organizations and to learn more about their mission.
One year, the ACCF Scholarship Committee needed an alternate committee member, and Bette was invited to serve. She embraced this opportunity thoroughly enjoyed it. This is one of the most time-consuming, emotionally and mentally-exhausting committees on which to serve, but Bette served with delight. Each year, the Foundation receives over 150+ applications. The outcome of the committee's decisions has the potential to radically and drastically change lives. Bette absolutely and positively enjoyed the hours she studied these applications, the discussion between the committee members, and the benefits the awards made in the lives of college students.
When the Foundation produced a DVD to highlight its impact on the local community, Bette accepted the challenge to be a part of this production.
When someone was needed for an ACCF press release, the Foundation called Bette. When she would get to the location for the publicity picture, she became engrossed in learning all she could about the organization. With the Bellmont Literary Club, she ended up becoming a member, read the books, and attended the discussions. With the Pathways Adult Care Center, she arrived early and stayed after so she could visit with the clients and personnel. With the St. Joe educational programs, she stayed to read books to the children.
Bette’s wonderfully pleasant personality, eagerness to serve and get involved, and her devoted service prompted an invitation to serve as an ACCF Board member. In 2006, Bette was accepted as a full ACCF Board of Director. In 2007 she accepted an officer’s position as Secretary. She was unable to serve this full term, as sadly, Bette became very ill. Better continues to be missed by all members and staff of the ACCF.
Bette’s willingness to share and provide help lives on. Her St. Joseph Educational Fund has been used to provide Financial support for students for their tuition for St. Joseph School.