Ruth-Miller-03Ruth M. Miller always kept a special place in her heart for firefighters. She and her husband, John, also known as Jack, had a wonderful marriage and were truly soul mates. One of the things she loved and admired about Jack was his career as a firefighter and captain.

It was one of the first things she would talk about when you first met Ruth. She was teased that her love affair with Jack was also the beginning of a lasting love affair with the fire departments and firefighters of Southern California. She believed firefighters were brave and honorable and people to be highly respected.

If you were with Ruth and saw firefighters or a fire truck, everything else would fall away as inconsequential, her face would light up, and her total attention was drawn to them. She would hope to speak to them and tell them about her husband and to thank them for their service.


Ruth and John Miller, December 24, 1961

One day as we were driving to a doctor’s appointment a fire truck pulled alongside us. She insisted that I roll down my window so she could say hello. The fireman handed me a paper firefighter badge for her; that little treasure was the first thing you would see when she opened her wallet.

She was celebrating her 90th birthday in the retirement community she lived in when 911 was called for another resident. She, as always, was so interested in what the first responders were doing. That day, once they handled the emergency, the firefighters were told about her birthday and came in to the party to wish her well. I wish you could have seen her face.

Ruth felt had it not been for Jack and the pension she received because of his service in the fire department, her life would have been very different. She was grateful to the Los Angeles Fire Department and always said when she died she wanted to remember her husband and the department by giving back to the Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firefighters Fund.

Ruth had a great love of life. She had a strong determination to let go of the physical and emotional hardships she encountered and instead embrace the good. She was strong minded and a wonderful person in which to confide. She was very kind and infused everything with a great sense of humor. Ruth and Jack loved to travel and had many great adventures.


Ruth Miller and Margo

Ruth was born in Arkansas in 1916. As a young adult she spent time in Kansas City, Missouri and Beaumont, Texas. In her mid-twenties she traveled to Southern California and started a career at Bell Telephone Company where she worked her way up to chief telephone operator. She met Jack and they married in Santa Barbara in 1962. When Jack died she moved to Laguna Woods where she developed great friendships. She bicycled all over town including to daily mass at St. Nicholas Catholic Church. During the last years of her life Ruth made her home at Freedom Village in Lake Forest, California.

Everyone at the Los Angeles Firemen’s Relief Association and Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firemen’s Fund is deeply grateful for Ruth’s incredible kindness.

“The charity is honored to be the beneficiary of her extraordinary generosity and to receive this bequest,” said Marlene Casillas, Development & Marketing Director. “By donating to the Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firemen’s Fund through her estate plan, Ruth is making a significant difference in the lives of so many firefighter families in need. Her legacy will last forever and she will remain always in the hearts of our firefighter families.”

By Maureen Burt