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Maxwell's Story

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Maxwell Williams Miller was born on March 28, 1921 and died on January 31, 2018 just shy of her 97th birthday. One of her beloved caregivers, Doris Davis, was at her side. Maxwell's other devoted and beloved caregivers, Mary Myers and DeShonda Jenkins, had been with her that day as well. Maxwell's family will be forever grateful for these ladies' kindness and faithfulness over many years.
Maxwell (many people called her "Mack") was born in Cordele, Georgia to Bertie Cecil Williams and Ada Roberts Williams. She was the fourth of five daughters. Maxwell adored her parents and siblings and the close-knit community of Cordele. She often quoted family members, and told countless stories about her wonderful childhood.
Maxwell graduated from Cordele High School and Georgia Women's College (Valdosta State University) where she was President of the Student Government Association, the Senior Class, and Valedictorian.
Maxwell taught fourth grade in Cordele and Albany for many years. During the 1960's she was the first teacher to volunteer to serve in an all black school in Albany. "Miss Maxwell" was very popular and beloved among her students; she kept up with many of them through the years.
Only her love for Willis L. Miller in Valdosta, Georgia could entice her away from the other love of her lifeteaching--to become a devoted wife, stepmother, mother-in-law, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Margaret Dutton was Willis's first wife. Margaret and Maxwell were best friends in college and their friendship continued as Margaret and Willis bore two sons, Wyn and Dutton Miller. Maxwell and Margaret were a team, as Maxwell helped Willis and Margaret raise the boys. She often accompanied the Miller family on vacations and to Tybee Island to care for Margaret's invalid mother; there are countless photos of the boys with Maxwell. Dutton Miller was named after his mother and MaxwellDutton Maxwell Miller. Dutton and his wife, Donna, produced a son whom they named Dutton Maxwell Miller, Jr. Dutton, Jr. and his wife, Erin, named their son Dutton Maxwell Miller III.
When Margaret died suddenly in 1969, Willis and Maxwell kept in touch. Their friendship grew into love and they married in 1970. They had a wonderful life together, fishing, traveling, and welcoming grandchildren, until Willis's death in 2005. It has been estimated that while Willis was alive, Maxwell cooked approximately 12,000 fish, many of which they pulled from their beloved lake Octahatchee. If being an accomplished fish cooker distinguished Maxwell in the early years of her marriage, banana bread became her specialty later in life. As macular degeneration gradually robbed her of her sight, she could still make banana bread "with her eyes closed." If you worked in her doctor's office, the post office, mowed her yard, or fixed her plumbing, Maxwell had a loaf of banana bread ready to share.
Maxwell's selflessness, honesty, humility, humor, and caring heart have had lifelong affects on her family and all who knew her. After Maxwell and Willis married, she devoted herself to the Miller family. However, her love for her biological family never diminished; it was with great joy and pride that she shared news of her sisters and their children. It was truly a grand and blessed day when God brought Maxwell to us. It is impossible to forget someone who has become a part of you.
Maxwell is survived by one sister, Jean Williams of Atlanta; nieces and nephews, Anne Barge Clegg of Atlanta (Terry), John P. Barge of Cordele (Susan), Tom Barge of Atlanta, Jean Kelly of Tullahoma, TN (Mark), Frances Betcher of Ingomar, PA, Laura Perryman, of Forest, VA, and Ed Kiker of Madison, AL, and Nan Troutman, Jani Martin, and John Marvin Miller, all of Valdosta; 2 stepsons and their wives, Wyn and Linda, and Dutton and Donna Miller; 5 grandchildren, Willis Linton Miller IV of Atlanta, Dutton Miller, Jr. of Columbia, SC (Erin), Margaret Montague of Rome, GA (Clark), Richard Miller of Valdosta (Jeri Beth), and Jonathan Miller of Valdosta (Maggie); and 7 great grandchildren.
Graveside services will be held on Saturday, February 3, 2018, at 11:00 a.m. at Sunset Hill Cemetery. Reverend Charles Adams will officiate. The family will receive friends at the Carson McLane Funeral Home on Saturday from 9:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Methodist Home of Valdosta, Georgia, c/o Corinne Simmons, P. O. Box 2947, Valdosta, GA 31604.
Condolences may be conveyed online at www.mclanecares.com
Published on February 1, 2018
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