Elizabeth Miller: Designer, Fighter
Home & Textiles Today Staff -- Home Textiles Today, May 10, 2010
Colleagues of veteran industry designer Elizabeth Miller remembered her life following her death May 3 after a five-year battle with breast cancer. She was 50.
Miller was vp of design for Mohawk Industries' Karastan division. Her career has also included senior design positions at CHF Industries and Ex-Cell Home Fashions, and Springs Industries as well as her own business, Elizabeth Miller Design.
Bill Kilbride, president of Mohawk Home, said, “Elizabeth was one of the most remarkable women I've known. For five years she turned a devastating illness into her passion. She maintained her spirit to win even through her final days. We learned from Elizabeth, she led us, she inspired us, she has made each of us better. She has left her indelible mark on Mohawk and Karastan and each of our associates. All our thoughts and support go to her family and especially her son, Oliver.”
CHF Industries last year hosted a fundraiser in conjunction with Executives Working in Home Textiles in Miller's honor to raise funds for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization, for which she was an active supporter.
Frank Foley, ceo, CHF Industries, said, “There are not many individuals that everybody respects and loves. Elizabeth is a hero who lit up her space and everybody in it — all the time. She leaves a legacy of lessons for us — we thank her for that but wish she were here with us to keep teaching us — we'll remember her and her lessons.”
Joan Karron, evp, CHF, added “Elizabeth's talent contributed so much to our industry. She led us on a quest to find a cure for breast cancer, she inspired us to never give up, and she touched our lives every day with her courage and positive thinking. Elizabeth will live on forever in my heart.”
ABC Home also held Komen fundraisers featuring Miller at its New York store.
Paulette Cole, ceo and creative director described Miller as “a dear friend and inspiration. Her passion, conviction, integrity, courage, warmth, optimism, generosity and radiant kindness prevailed endlessly. She has been a blessing, a gift and a guide through wisdom, beauty and action to each of us who had the profound privilege of being in life with her.”
Ryan Jones, a partner in Stellar-Alliance, knew Miller since the early 1980s when she was with Motif Designs.
“She was always positive and upbeat and ready to take on any project with great enthusiasm,” he said. “She had a can-do attitude that served her well in business and in life, including her long battle with cancer. Every time it came back at her, she faced it with resolve. Her personal battles with cancer caused her to get involved with the Komen group as she tried to help others even in her own fight. Anyone who knew Elizabeth loved her and her indomitable spirit. She will be missed.”
Barry Leonard, president, Glenoit/Ex-Cell/Croscill, was a colleague and friend of Miller's for the past 17 years. They met while they were both working for Springs.
“There is an empty place in my heart today, as there is for a lot of people,” he said. “Elizabeth was an inspiration to so many people. And just her laughter and her love for her son was something special. I have never seen anything like it. We all love our children, but the relationship she had with Oliver was special. She was a single mom and she raised him into the wonderful young man he is today.”
David North, vp, Glenoit/Ex-Cell/Croscill, began working with Miller at Ex-Cell more than a decade ago.
“She never gave up. She was always looking for the next experimental treatment or drug, no matter the pain,” he said. “She is a person who fought the disease with her whole heart and never gave up hope. She was always looking for that cure.”
John Fraley, coo, Home Source International, hired Miller in 1997 as vp of design for Ex-Cell Home Fashions and worked there with her until 2000.
“The best thing about Elizabeth was that she was very capable and very pleasant, all at the same time. Her great sense of humor, her great sense of fashion and trend and design and her business approach made her easy and fun to work with.”
EWHT released a statement upon Miller's death, stating: “She fought with amazing grace and dignity and will be missed by all who knew her.”
Miller, a native of Levitown, Pa., was interred last week at Roosevelt Memorial Park in suburban Philadelphia. A memorial service will be arranged in New York at a later date, EWHT said in a notification to its members.
She was the mother of Oliver Miller-Farrell; daughter of Leatrice Weiss Miller and Mark Miller; sister of Jim Miller and Maggie Myers (Andy); and aunt of Zachary Miller, Sophie Miller, Ellen Myers and Chloe Miller.
Contributions in Miller's memory may be made to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Attn: Donor Services, P.O. Box 650309, Dallas, TX 75265-0309.
In addition, Mohawk Home has established The Elizabeth Miller Memorial Fund to benefit Miller's son's college education. Contributions may be sent to Northside Bank, Attn: Elizabeth Miller Memorial Fund, 1300 Lover's Lane Road SE, Calhoun, GA 30701-3988.
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