Mary Upcraft Miller, 77

Published 6:51 am Friday, July 6, 2018

Mary Upcraft Miller, 77, of Austin, Minnesota, died Sunday, July 1, 2018, at her home.

Mary Upcraft Miller, 77

Mary Ella Holbert was born on June 15, 1941, in Austin to William and Eileen Holbert. She was the fourth of seven children. She passed away at her home on July 1, 2018, in Austin, holding hands and surrounded by her family.

She attended St. Augustine’s Catholic School and graduated from Pacelli High School in 1959. She fondly tells the story of how one of the nuns once told her that she would make a wonderful wife and mother, and that she did. She married George Upcraft in 1960. They raised four children in Austin. The family lived a simple life, showered with love and laughter. Family camping trips created countless memories with family and friends. Love and laughter was the platform for a childhood that will never be forgotten. They had 25 years of marriage when George passed away unexpectedly at age 46. Life changed for Mary. Like everything else, she made the best of it.

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She met Jim Miller and they were married in 1995. A new set of adventures awaited her. She accompanied him on work trips to places she never planned, Hawaii, Aruba, Mexico and many others. Another highlight was traveling through all states in the United States on motorcycle. She loved seeing the countryside on two wheels. She smiled as she spoke of the beauty of our country. Mary and Jim live in Florida for half the year and they loved playing golf, socializing and taking advantage of the many activities that retirement has to offer. They loved to dance in their earlier years. Mary was known for breaking out into song, regardless of what she was doing. She grew up in a family of music and carried it through her entire life.

Mary retired from Austin Public Schools in 2002 as paraprofessional. She worked with many students throughout the years that she genuinely loved. She worked part time at the YMCA starting in 1987 after George passed away. She was so fortunate that this unexpected life change brought her lifelong friends.

She loved spending time with family and grandchildren. She enjoyed watching the grandkids in their school and sports activities and loved telling her friends all about them. She unconditionally taught her children and grandkids to laugh and smile every day. She did this perfectly every day herself.

Mary had many dear friends. Good friend or not, she made everybody feel like they were special because to her, they were.

She will be missed by her husband, Jim Miller; her four children, Kathie Upcraft, Mike Upcraft, Jane Justice, and Sheila Ondich.; sons-in-law,   Steve Justice and Jim Ondich; six grandchildren, Cody Upcraft, Nate Justice, Steph Justice, Colie Justice, Jenessa Miller Ziegler, Amanda Miller Ziegler; stepson and daughter-in-law, Brett Miller and Deb Miller; her siblings, Judith (Ted) Heimer, Richard (Linda) Holbert, Jim Holbert and Terri Holbert. She was preceded in death by her first husband George Upcraft; her parents , William and Eileen Holbert; and siblings, Kay and Patsy Holbert.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, July 10 at St. Edwards Catholic Church with Father James Steffes officiating. Visitation will be at the Clasen-Jordan Mortuary from 4-7 p.m. on Monday, July 9. Memorials are preferred to St. Augustine’s Catholic Church.