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Frances Miller

Frances M. Miller May 17, 1913 - January 13, 2014

Frances Miller, nee Martinsek, of Fish Creek, died Monday morning at home at the age of 100. Frances was born May 17, 1913, in Mineral, Kansas, to Anton and Frances (Piuk) Martinsek. Her family moved from Kansas to Auburn, IL and later to Milwaukee, WI. Frances was the third child in a family of 9 siblings and is preceded in death by 7 of them--Tony (Sophie) Martinsek, Frank (Frances) Martinsek, Anne (Emil) Schmidt, John (Joan) Martinsek, Matilda (Dale) Maupin, Elsie (Andrew) Redmann and Pauline Grace Martinsek. A fifth sister, Mary (John) Smith resides in Monument, CO. Frances married Ethan Miller (deceased) in Milwaukee on July 10, 1943. They had one daughter--Reinelde (David) Lea--who resides in Fish Creek. Frances has 3 grandchildren--Corinne Lea of Fish Creek, Ilona (Chava) Zamora of Santa Rosa, CA and Ardashir Lea of Houston, TX.

Coming from a Slovenian background, Frances's life was filled with music. She began learning the violin while still a child. At her older brother's urging, she started playing accordion as a teen and eventually found she could make a living at it. During her life as a professional musician, Frances played for many occasions and in many different settings. In Milwaukee, she played for numerous businesses and organizational functions. Dubbed "the personality girl", Frances would stroll with her accordion and move among the guests, playing anything from a Strauss waltz to "Stardust", as well as an occasional polka.

Frances's connection to Door County came in 1959, when her sister and brother-in-law bought Lakewood Lodge in Fish Creek and renamed it the White Gull Inn. Frances spent her summers working at the Inn, helping to redecorate, baking pies and bread in the kitchen and playing accordion for the fish boils and buffets. The Millers purchased their Fish Creek residence in 1965, retiring to Door County in 1981.

There will be a memorial for Frances and Ethan Miller in July 2014. The family would like to thank Unity Hospice for their outstanding assistance in the care of Frances as well as the staff a Scandia-Good Samaritan for their heartfelt care of Frances during her extended stay there. Thanks also to Greg Casperson for his assistance. Memorials in Frances's name can be sent to the Door County Land Trust, the Gibraltar Historical Association or to Birch Creek Music Center.

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