Mary Lou Miller was born on a cold, wintry day on January 18, 1928 in Roscoe, Missouri. She was the second child of Forrest and Zena Goodrich. Her older sister, Agnes Louise was nearly five years old at the time of Mary Lou’s birth.
Mary Lou grew up in Roscoe a small community of about 125 people where her father Forrest, quite the entrepreneur owned the local hardware and farm implements business that also provided undertaking services. Mary Lou attended the local elementary school. While in high school the family moved to Osceola (population 1,200) where Forrest downsized the business to providing only funeral services. Forrest chose a Victorian home just off the town square to locate his business and family home.
While in college at Southwest Baptist in Bolivar, Missouri, Mary Lou met Donald Miller, the love of her life. They were married when she had finished college and she taught school while Don pursued an academic career in education. Through their married life they lived in Missouri, Florida, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Wherever they lived Mary Lou taught elementary school and Don taught at the University, except for Oklahoma where Mary Lou was told that “faculty wives” do not work outside the home because the University provides sufficient income for the family.
Mary Lou followed in the teaching profession of her sister, mother and grandmother. She loved teaching young minds how to read. She loved sharing the stories of her “children.” She saved most of the love notes and gifts from her students.
She taught school for 50 years. Mary Lou taught in several school districts in Missouri but found her home in Fayetteville where she taught first grade at Root School for 37 years.
After retiring from Fayetteville Public Schools, she spent many hours volunteering at the Samaritan Home Shop in Springdale. She loved collecting. While well known for having a very large Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy collection she also had several matching outfits that always had matching shoes and accessories. She also loved to travel and visited several countries in Europe as a chaperone for students touring with music groups.
For the past five and half years, she has lived at Butterfield Trails where she reunited with several parents of children she taught at Root School. While she and Don never had children, she was a teacher, mother and caretaker of thousands of children
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