Anita Miller, 74, of rural Independence, met God on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, at the Buchanan County Medical Center. Mom died after a short illness that felt like an eternity to those that watched her bravely fight and prayed for more time with this incredible mom, grandma, wife and friend. She will be buried at 12:15 p.m. Tuesday at Wilson Cemetery, Independence. Due to COVID-19, her funeral Mass will be attended in-person by family only. Anyone wishing to view the funeral mass via Zoom may find the connection information in her obituary on the Teahen Funeral Home website. There will be a celebration of mom's life this summer at the family farm. Teahen Funeral Home is serving the family.
Anita Jo was born in Cedar Rapids, Jan. 15, 1947, to George and Marie Smith. She grew up on "the hill" in Cedar Rapids with friends that were extended family. On Sundays there were family gatherings with cousins causing trouble that Anita loved to watch videos of and relive later in her life still giggling like she was just there.
As a girl, Anita Jo was involved in Camp Fire and Camp Hitaga. She made friendships during those times that lasted through her lifetime. After graduating from LaSalle she traveled to Iowa State and on a bus ride home for her birthday in 1967 she met a young man doing the same for his birthday both the same day. Anita married that man, the love of her life, two years later in Cedar Rapids.
Larry and Anita spent 51 busy and fulfilling years together. Moving from Iowa to Florida to Minnesota and back to Iowa twice. They finally retired in rural Independence after purchasing their dream location with a creek through the middle. During this time they had two kiddos, Lori (Andy) Schrodemier of Center Point and Steve (Kate) Miller of Minneapolis, Minn. But the apples of her eyes were her two and four legged grandkids. Amelia (10) and Andrew (8) adored their Babi. They loved looking at all the rocks in the creek and digging in the dirt along the hills where she could tell stories of people and things that came before them and how they came to be. They learned about conservation and history lessons that will help to shape their futures. The furr babies were drawn to Anita's calm nature and caring spirit. You could tell where she was just by watching where the dogs traveled.
During her lifetime Anita started two businesses, one for Interior Decorating and PineCreek Electronics was a family business. After retiring, Anita spent her time following her love of conservation, nature and history by volunteering at the Wapsipinicon Mill, Heartland Acres, Cedar Rock, Lee Mansion and the Buchanan County Conservation Board. She was a Master Gardener with a soft spot for prairies and the monarchs.
Our mom had the beauty and grace of a queen but would grin from ear to ear the next day sitting in the creek or digging in the dirt. She always had a different plan on what was going to happen. She could envision a space being beautiful when nothing was there and make a vision we wanted come alive right in front of us. Any time she was asked to step up and help she would go above and beyond what was asked just to see us smile. From Christmas Trees at Tannenbaum Forest to dressing in character to read to her grandsons class she made that impact come to life. As a mom myself, I asked her constantly how she accomplished the little details she did. Steve and I had a full breakfast every morning, I had notes on my napkins at lunch and we had fresh blueberry pancakes picked close to our camper and cooked on a little stove. These memories cancer cannot take.
Anita was preceded in death by her parents, George and Marie Smith; her brother, Rick Smith; her niece, Jennifer Smith; and all her furr pups, especially the one and only Gozer. I know somewhere she is smiling away with Gozer tucked in her shirt and they are both at home again. Mom from now on you can take the long way home to look at the flowers and gardens and dream. You can dig in the dirt without worrying about bacteria and you can eat black licorice to your heart's desire. Here there is a huge hole that will never be filled but every day we will hear your sweet laughter with memories told and feel your love with traditions passed on.
Instead of flowers, memorials may be sent to the family for a public prairie project to be started this spring.
Online condolences can be left at www.teahenfuneralhome.com.