Rita Ann Miller

Age 94, passed on January 11, 2021 at her home surrounded by family and her favorite books.  She was born in Springfield, IL to the late Andrew and Grace (nee Harvey) Kraus and a resident of Joliet since 1974.  Rita received her Bachelor's Degree, with the highest possible honors, in education from Illinois State University. She was a member of Friends of Joliet Public Library and Will County Historical Society.  Rita enjoyed her book discussion group at the Black Road branch of the Joliet Public Library. 

Survived by four children, Ann Paulsen of Livermore, CA, Karl (Marsha) Miller of Rennes, France, Erica (Noel – deceased) Santella of Sorrento, FL and James Miller of Lemont, IL; two grandchildren, Joe C. and Jean Paulsen 

Preceded in death by her husband, Charles John Miller (1996), best friend and soulmate.  Charles was an Army veteran who served in Europe and Africa during WWII. Also preceded in death by one sister, Rose Marie Kraus; and one brother, Andrew James Kraus, Jr. 

From a young age, Rita was passionate about community and helping others achieve their utmost potential. Whether it was working on Civil Rights in Springfield and Chicago through such organizations as Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), being a part of interfaith organizations, or being a volunteer teaching adults to read. Rita approached her work and life with pure compassion and joy.  More than anything else, Rita wanted to improve the future of her community and the people she lived around.  Rita often said, “people are complicated”. Rita always strived to understand people who held beliefs different than her own, often by walking a mile in their shoes. 

 When Rita relaxed, her forms of relaxation revolved around her intellect: reading, music, theater, learning new skills, online solitaire, jigsaw and crossword puzzles. But walking, bicycling, and bird watching were physical activities she also enjoyed immensely. Rita also had a love of public community-sponsored places such as libraries, parks, and forest preserves.   

As a staunch Democrat and lifelong political junkie, Rita had a strong moral compass and her optimistic beliefs in our country never wavered.  She had confidence in the democratic process and direction our country could go.  

As it was Rita's request, Cremation Rites have been accorded.  A Memorial Gathering for the family will be held at a later date.  Arrangements are entrusted to Fred C. Dames Funeral Home, 3200 Black Rd. (at Essington Rds.), Joliet.  In lieu of flowers, donations to the Joliet Friends of the Library are requested. 150 North Ottawa Street, Joliet, Illinois 60432.  Please visit her Memorial Tribute at www.fredcdames.com where you can share a favorite memory or leave an online condolence.