“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies” (Proverbs 31:10).
“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
Linda Lou Miller lived in this world but she was not of it. On Tuesday morning, November 2, 2021, following a brief illness, the Father called her Home.
Linda Lou was born on December 29, 1954 to the Rev. C.B. “Tommy” and Mabel Elizabeth Oler. She was born and raised in Johnson City, where she spent much of her life. Linda was preceded in death by her parents; three sisters, Margaret Laws, Thelma Malone, and Barbara Babb; and a brother, Jack Oler.
She is survived by her husband, Terry Miller, and daughter, Terri Beth Miller, both of Johnson City. Linda also leaves behind two brothers, Phillip R. Oler and wife, Linda Sue, of Johnson City, and Tommy Oler Jr. and wife, Catherine, of Bulls Gap; three sisters, Benita Broyles and husband, Doug, of Knoxville, Brenda Wilcox and husband, Darryl, of Baileyton, and Pamela Self, of Greeneville; as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
Linda was a long-time employee of Philips Consumer Electronics and EcoQuest International, both in Greeneville, as well as Crutchfield Electronics, Charlottesville, Virginia.
A lover of art and music, she could be found reveling in a Brahms concerto or an aria from La Bohème on one day and rocking out to Bruno Mars, Pearl Jam, or Prince the next. A replica of Michelangelo’s Pieta sat on her bedside table for decades. Her favorite books were too numerous to name, but she held the works of Victor Hugo, Virginia Woolf, and the Bronte sisters particularly close to her heart. She also enjoyed binge-watching a good soapy thriller with her daughter. She loved old world sailing ships, and she collected Pained Pony statuary in honor of her Cherokee heritage.
She was a frugal fashionista, and loved makeup (cruelty-free), posh purses and cute boots. She could not resist a cool blouse or funky pair of earrings.
Linda Lou was indomitable, formidable, irreverent, and unconventional. She was breathtakingly smart and ferociously funny. Her quick and biting wit won her admirers far and wide. The unwary who dared to enter into an argument with Linda Lou quickly came to regret it. In the annals of human history there are no documented cases of Linda Lou having ever lost a fight.
Linda Lou was thoughtful, always the first to offer help in times of trouble. She sweated the small stuff, taking care to commemorate every anniversary, to respond to every Facebook post, to ensure that her friends and loved ones always knew they were remembered and cared for. Because of this, she collected surrogate daughters and sons everywhere she went.
She was, to her core, a caregiver, and her daughter, Beth, was the principal beneficiary of Linda’s mother’s heart. Linda committed her life to caring for Beth, who is disabled. In the decades prior to her passing, Linda journeyed from Greeneville to Charlottesville, Virginia, and finally to Knoxville to enable Beth to receive her education. Despite contending with her own significant health challenges. Linda continued to serve as Beth’s caregiver, along with her husband, Terry, until mere weeks before her death.
Linda was also a warrior, dedicating her entire adult life to caring for sick and homeless animals. Her special gift was in rescuing the “lost causes,” dogs and cats considered too ill, too frightened, or too traumatized to be adopted. She bottle-fed orphaned kittens. She brought into her home senior animals with terminal conditions, from cardiomyopathy to cancer, and nursed them through their final illnesses with a tenderness and compassion that would have broken persons of lesser courage. When her senior cat, Lucy, became paralyzed from the neck down, Linda single-handedly rehabilitated her little one until Lucy was able to walk again.
Linda Lou contended with mental illness since childhood and, later in life, was diagnosed with bipolar II and anxiety disorder. Depression was a constant adversary, as was the stigma that for too long has accompanied mental health challenges. She battled these enemies valiantly, and they could not defeat her.
Linda Lou was unyielding in her principles. Uncompromising in her advocacy of the vulnerable, including not only animals but also the unborn and the sick. She was a force of nature, and our world is diminished for no longer having her in it.
Above all, she was a powerful, prayerful woman of God, the daughter and sister of pastors who never forgot that her home was not of this world. She is now at peace with the Creator for whom she yearned and surrounded by her animals and the loved ones who have gone on before. She has heard the words for which she has striven her entire life: “Well done, good and faithful servant.” She is cradled in the arms of Jesus, and by His stripes, she has been healed.
Rest now, Mama. We will take the watch from here. Until we meet again…
Linda’s friends and family will gather at Morris Baker Funeral Home for a catered reception on Sunday, November 7, 2021, from 1-3pm. A brief Celebration of Life Service will follow at 3pm in the Dogwood Chapel, under the direction of Pastor Mike Richards. The service will be livestreamed and available to view for 90 days on the Morris-Baker website, under Linda’s obituary page. Graveside services will be held Monday, November 8, 2021, at 11am at Washington County Memory Gardens, Johnson City, under the mausoleum portico. Family and friends are asked to meet at the cemetery by 10:50am.
Terry and Beth would like to thank the healthcare team and staff of the 2700 ICU unit at the Johnson City Medical Center for the extraordinary care they provided to Linda and her family in her final illness. Terry and Beth also wish to express their sincere gratitude to the staff of Morris Baker Funeral Home, and particularly to Katie Johnson for her immense kindness and wise and gentle guidance in this difficult time.
Donations in lieu of flowers may be made in Linda’s name to Tunnels to Towers Foundation (Tunnel to Towers Foundation, 2361 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island, NY 10306 or https://t2t.org/), St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or https://www.stjude.org/), or any no-kill animal shelter or rescue.
Memories and condolences may be shared with the family via www.morrisbaker.com
Morris-Baker Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 2001 E. Oakland Ave., Johnson City, TN 37601 is serving the family. 423-282-1521