By DAVID GREEN
Back when Ruby Miller was a student at Morenci High School in the early 1920s, there was an older girl who sat in the row across from her in study hall named Delora Fletcher.
That girl—now Delora Ehlinger—turned 100 years old in 2005.
That means it’s time for the younger classmate to take her turn celebrating the century mark.
Friday is Ruby Miller’s big day.
Ruby was born in Hillsdale in 1907, but the family soon moved to Morenci. Other than when she followed her husband, Blair, around to various locations while he was in the Navy, Morenci was always home to Ruby.
She attended Davis Business College in Toledo and landed a job with the school as secretary to Morenci superintendent Henry Geisler. Retiring from that job didn’t mark the end of her working days. She served as a part-time secretary at Harlo Wells’ insurance agency until her mid-70s.
Ruby and Blair first had a home built for them on Orchard Street. This is where they raised their two daughters, Lucy and Jane, who both graduated from Morenci High School.
Later, as the west end of Morenci was developed, the Millers moved into a ranch home on Chestnut Street. Long after Blair’s untimely death, Ruby moved into an apartment in the York Hills II senior complex.
Ruby’s birthday was always just Dec. 7 until 1941. Then, of course, it was always associated with the attack on Pearl Harbor.
“Dad was in the service then,” said Ruby’s daughter, Lucy Brown, “and it was a very uneasy time.”
Blair was serving in the Atlantic Ocean at the time, but the war brought worries to many parts of the globe.
In honor of her husband’s service, Ruby has crocheted hundreds of lap afghans for the Veterans Hospital in Ann Arbor.
“I’ll bet she’s done a thousand,” Lucy said.
For years, Ruby created 30 to 40 over the winter and two or three dozen more during the summer.
She’s also donated many afghans to the Chelsea Methodist Home.
Ruby was an avid reader over the years and she also built an enormous thimble collection.
When she’s home in Morenci, she always enjoys visiting friends at York Hills and at the Senior Citizens Center for lunch.
Ruby and Blair traveled to many countries around the world and after his death, Ruby traveled with friends.
Many centenarians have large lists of family members, but that isn’t the case with Ruby. She has just four grandchildren, one of whom is deceased, and five great-grandchildren.
She’s staying with Lucy in Arizona this winter and she’ll also spend some time in their Upper Peninsula home in the spring. Her other daughter, Jane Russell, lives in Pinckney, Mich., during the warm months and in Florida for the winter.
Eventually Ruby will find her way back to her apartment, in the city she’s always considered home.
“Morenci means a lot to her,” Lucy said.