More than 75 people gathered at the Seminole Towne Center Red Lobster, Friday, May 25 for her retirement luncheon, which was hosted by her Ancillary Team mates. They were: Mrs. Boehart, Mrs. Chaston, Mrs. Crawford and Mrs. Reda.
Deacon Charles Carlton from Antioch Missionary Baptist Church did the opening prayer and grace to begin the program which included a wide range of colleagues and friends, both old and recent. While guests were enjoying their meals, Kay Boehart opened the comment section with highlights from their many shared experiences of rendering services on behalf of Hamilton out in the community.
Miller’s husband, Larry, and their 2 children, Hayley and Joshua, paid beautiful tribute to their wife and mother who they said attempted to make their home like heaven! Mr. Miller said he really loved the fact that when he was still working his wife always reminded him that if he wasn’t being treated right by others on the job, he could always come home.
They attested to her strong prayer life in the she believes in P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Something Happens) and that she is always in a prayerful frame of mind, faithfully going about and doing the work of God.
The person in the room who had the longest relationship with the guest of honor was David Tossie who recalled their earliest days together in the beginners Sunday School Class at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Oviedo. He remembered her at Jackson Heights Elementary as a smart student in glasses surrounded by three aunts who were teachers and an uncle who was the principal.
The audience was surprised to learn from Tossie that Miller had been the first African American cheerleader at Oviedo High School in 1970 leading all the songs at pep rallies and lastly noting that they eventually worked together at Hamilton Elementary where he observed her doing extraordinary work.
Three of Miller’s Missionary friends were in attendance, two of whom had met Miller in Namibia in 2002. The other was Nan Parker who had been Hamilton’s Principal and responsible for Miller taking the first of many trips to Namibia, Africa. Nan said that Gracia’s prayer partnership has been vital as she led the school and noted their co-founding of Christians in Public Education (CIPE).
Rebekah Richey remarked about the diversity of the group present and said, “This is how it’s going to be in Heaven!” Sallie Kinney commented, “Gracia gives the best hugs!” Delta Sigma Theta Sorority was well represented, Sanford Alumnae Chapter President, Dr. Barbara Kirby-Bentley spoke for the group of five and expressed the appreciation for the excellence with which Miller serves as Recording Secretary. Commenting further that in every situation, she is ready to pray and suggest prayer.
Her church friend, Velma Faust, spoke about meeting Miller when she initially came to Antioch and her immediate call to prayer and then her generosity in taking in a troublesome grandson. Former Hamilton Elementary School Principal, Marj Abamczyk, presented Miller with 3 different journals, reminding her of the writings she must obviously do now that she will have the time, especially the book entitled, "I Didn’t Come to School to Chase You Today.”
Hamilton School Secretary, Lisa Girardi and Guidance Counselor, Heather Chaston, Guidance Secretary, Gloria Beasley speaking for Michelle Clark, thanked Miller for being their friend, teacher, confidant, sister in Christ and wonderful, loving, a caring woman of virtue who will be remembered for serving colleagues, students and parents with humility.
At an early point in the event, Miller was asked to introduce her family. Well, she did this by starting at the table with her husband, her children, her mother-in-law and aunt, but meandered around the room, introducing many but neglecting none, as they were presented as part of her family with “all of whom were apparently significant to her life.” In lieu of personal gifts, Miller had asked invitees to support the Gracia Miller Kindergarten, a pre-school named for her in Namibia, Africa and up and coming trip to Haiti.
Boehart announced that $500 had been donated for the school and $500 had been donated for Haiti. In addition, a gift box was presented from Hamilton’s First Grade Teachers.
Miller was obviously moved by all that she experienced and responded by soliciting help for the acapella rendition of “How Can I Say Thanks-To God Be the Glory.” It was a fitting end to a spectacular retirement and worship experience. There was truly a “sweet, sweet spirit in that place.”
• St. John Missionary Baptist Church, 920 Cypress Ave., invites the community and Christian friends to Vacation Bible School, June 11 to 15, beginning sharply at 6 p.m. The theme, “Heaven’s Kitchen: Nourishing a Healthy Soul, Body and Mind,” scripture passage, Matthew 6:9-15.
The community is invited to join us in working for “Heaven’s Kitchen” and to receive your daily bread of God’s word. Food for guidance and directions needed to live healthy lives. Lessons, fun crafts, great music, praise dance routines and refreshments. Rev. McKennon Fernander, Pastor, Deacon John Thomas, Vacation Bible School Director.
• “Reno here we come” was the mind set for the AMF Blind Bowlers who flew out to Reno, Nevada for the 2012 Annual American Blind Bowlers Association (ABBA) Tournament.
The bowlers, known as the “One Desire” league are either totally blind or visually impaired and were all smiles as they boarded the Delta Jetliner on Tuesday, May 29 for a four-day journey to compete against 800+ blind bowlers from all over the U.S. This group of awesome, positive individuals began work to raise the necessary funds for their trip in January.
The group meets every Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to bowl and have fun. While on the trip, the sights of Reno, the mountains, the hotel and its casino left the group in awe. All the members of this group are graduates of Lighthouse of Central Florida, a school where independent living skills as well as coping skills are taught.
Those who journeyed to Nevada were: Annette Bailey, Malik Bevel, Lovoine Bevel, Jakki Brown, Michael Collins, William Corbett, Maria Dinicola, Yvonne Grey, Dwayne Grey, Richard Grey, Lisa Grenevich, Gabriel Gomez, Ned Moye, Richard Mueller, Stephanie Pozar, Maria Quintanilla, Joan Singley and Joanne Whitley.
“A special thanks to all who supported our efforts” said Secretary Yvonne, “I think we did well and should have some prizes coming. We had quite a few that were over average, a few to pick up splits and a great team spirit.”
Plans are already being made for the 2013 Tournament to be held in Indiana.