Anna Mae Searcy Miller passed away on May 26, 2023, just a few weeks shy of her 99th birthday. Her mind was still sharp, her body just wore out. It was the end of a life well lived.
She was proceeded in death by her parents, Wilson & Laura Elizabeth (Tapp) Searcy; her husband, Ronald F Miller; son, Bruce R Miller and brother, Lloyd Searcy. She is survived by her son, Karl Miller and his wife, Kathy; sisters in-law, Wilma Searcy, Linda Lawlor and Marg Clark and several cousins and nephews.
Anna Mae was born on a cattle farm near Liberty, MO, on June 29, 1924. She received her degree in chemistry from William Jewell College during World War II. The Upjohn Company brought her to Kalamazoo as a researcher working on the synthesis of Cortisone. She helped break the glass ceiling by being one of the first female chemists to work for the company.
Anna Mae met her husband, Ron, at a square dance and they married after he returned from serving in the Korean conflict. Her career at Upjohn ended (as was their practice) when she got pregnant with the first of her two sons. That was their loss.
Along with raising children, she was one of the founding members of the Chula Vista Garden Club and also started a large flower garden. Anna Mae began flower arranging and used fresh flowers and plant material from the garden for those. This led to her becoming a flower show judge and traveling around the state judging arrangements and horticulture displays at garden shows with her gardening buddies.
When she couldn't find the right containers for her arrangements, she started taking pottery classes at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. This was the beginning of a 20+ year association with them and a whole pile of Anna Mae thrown pottery. Because this was not enough to keep her busy, she started hybridizing Siberian Iris and attending national, regional and local iris events.
Many of her hybrids were good enough to introduce, resulting in two of them winning the top Siberian Iris award from the American Iris Society. As if this was not enough, Anna Mae enjoyed going to plays, the symphony and traveling around the US and the world collecting art museums and botanical gardens. During wintertime she quilted, often putting favorite flowers and images onto fabric. At one time she belonged to four quilt groups.
More than anything else, Anna Mae was the consummate friend maker. She maintained relations with her former co-workers at Upjohn for decades, hung out and traveled with her gardening and quilting buddies and when she moved to Bronson Place, she discovered a whole new batch of folks to know.
Please join us on Sunday, June 25, 2023, at the Fountains at Bronson Place, 1700 Bronson Way in Kalamazoo for a memorial service at 4:00 pm. Let's do the Anna Mae thing and have a grand time visiting with each other and sharing your favorite stories of her.
If you didn't know her personally, we hope this gives you an idea of a life well lived.
Friends and family may share a condolence message online at www.joldersma-klein.com.