Margaret, aka Grete (pronounced ‘Grady’), was born January 29, 1927, in Watertown, WI, the daughter of German immigrants fleeing the chaos of post WWI Germany. Their hopes of a better life were quickly dashed by the emerging Great Depression and abandonment by their father who returned to Germany. Her mother, Johanna Lemke, moved her three children Irmy, Hugh, and Grete to Chicago to be closer to her brother, Hugh Jesse. The single mother of three was pressured to give up her children, but she refused and took up a job as a seamstress and waitress to hold her family together.
Grete went on to graduate from Senn High School. She was very athletic and found great enjoyment in the outdoors as an avid camper, skier, and equestrian. She went to work at Kemper Insurance, where she became secretary to the president of the company. It was at Kemper where she met her future husband Bob Miles. They were married in 1950 and soon were transferred to the New York City office.
With the birth of their first daughter Linda (Missy), Grete became a homemaker and Bob was transferred back to Chicago where they moved out to the suburbs and had three more children: Mike, Marilyn, and Jim. Grete was a great cook and with Charley Bob at the grill, they wrote the book on entertaining. Evenings often ended singing barbershop classics around the table. Her singing skills were honed by her participation in Sweet Adelines. She was an excellent bowler and played a mean game of golf as well.
In 1984 they retired to Green Valley, Arizona, where they followed a passion for travel. When Bob developed Alzheimer’s she cared for him at their home until it became too difficult. After he died in 1998, she remained in Arizona until declining health brought her back to the Chicago area where she had a small apartment and her daughters could keep an eye on her. A more severe decline brought her to the United Pioneer Home in August, 2012. She became a member of West Denmark Church and enjoyed outings to the farm for family gatherings.
Margaret leaves to celebrate her memory: children: Missy Spengel, Crystal Lake, IL; Michael (Barb Kass) Miles, Luck, WI; Marilyn (Thomas) Cuttill, Barrington, IL; James (Linda) Miles, Luck, WI; grandchildren: Tony, Curtis and Brian Spengel, Ollie (Jeff) Lepper, Emma Miles, Philip (Bridgette) Miles, Drew Cuttill, Kendra (Mike) Cichon, Lee Cuttill, Jesse, Sarah and Micah Miles; great grandchildren, Sawyer and Quinn Lepper; sister, Irmy Hart, Traverse City, MI; brother, Hugh Reuss, Grand Rapids, MI; nieces, nephews, cousins and other loving family and friends. She was preceded in death by her husband, Charles Robert Miles and son-in-law, Craig Spengel.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Monday, December 30, 2013, at 1:00 P.M. at the West Denmark Lutheran Church, Luck, Wisconsin, with Pastor Linda Rozumalski officiating. Margaret’s family will be greeting visitors at the church beginning at 12:00 noon until the time of service and then again after the service. Music will be provided by Margaret’s grandchildren, the Indianhead Quartet, and Christine Johansen.
Memorials are preferred to the West Denmark Lutheran Church.