OBITUARY - CLEO CHRISTINIA (JOHNSTON) MILLER
Cleo Christinia (JOHNSTON) MILLER was born October 25, 1910 in Jefferson Township, Ringgold County, Iowa, the
daughter of Jay Elbert & Elva (OSBORN) JOHNSTON. Cleo passed away February 9, 2008 at the age of 97.
On May 19, 1934 she was united in marriage with Merrill Jones MILLER at the Christian Church Parsonage in Creston,
Iowa. Their first home was on a farm north of Diagonal. To this union were born two children, Loren Duane and
Cleo grew up and lived 63 years in the Diagonal Community. Upon retiring from the farm, she and Merrill moved into
Creston where she lived the rest of her life.
Cleo attended rural schools at Jefferson Center in Jefferson Township, Ringgold County, graduating from Diagonal
High School in 1928. (She was able to attend her 75th class reunion in 2003.) She then attended Cedar Falls State
Teachers College and college summer school at Red Oak and Shenandoah, Iowa. Cleo taught school at Corinth country
school for one year and Jefferson Center country school for three years. Her transportation to and from school was
Cleo was baptized into the Christian Church at Shannon City, Iowa. Following the closing of the church in Shannon
City, the family membership was transferred to Diagonal. Upon moving to Creston, Cleo was a member of the First
Christian Church Disciples of Christ.
Cleo enjoyed embroidering, crocheting, and especially quilting. She quilted many, many quilts for other people after
moving to Creston, as well as to see every grandchild had one of her quilts. Cleo was a charter member of the
Friendly Neighbors Club, which was organized on December 13, 1933 and upon moving to Creston still, remained a very
active member until the closing of the club after 67 years. Cleo loved the out-of-doors and her days on the farm.
She and Merrill continued to raise a big garden after moving to Creston of which Cleo continued in a smaller fashion
until her 90th birthday, and that fall when the great-grandsons came to spade it up for her said no, "I’ve planted my
last garden." She loved her flowers inside and out and still loved them in her room at Creston Nursing & Rehab. Cleo
loved to play cards of which she and Merrill got together very often to play with her sisters and husbands, Vern &
Marguerite, Donald & Esther. Still at the age of 95 she could not wait for the next family gathering or just a knock
at the door as one of her grandkids, great-grandkids or other family members and relatives came to visit. Her life
was her family!!!!
Preceding her death were her husband Merrill in 1982; her parents Bert & Elva JOHNSTON; mother & father-in-law
Merrill "Pete" & Effie MILLER; sisters Marguerite and Esther; their husbands Vern OSHEL and Donald BUTT; brother
Loren Elbert in 1919; brothers-in-law Leonard MILLER (wife Dorothy), Raymond MILLER (wife Coryl); sister-in-law Opal
SYDNESS (husband Melvin); brothers-in-law Edward MILLER and Clair MILLER.
Cleo is survived by her son Loren, daughter-in-law Marcia MILLER of Dunnegan, MO; daughter Marilyn, son-in-law Dana
LARIMORE of Creston; grandchildren Kim WALTERS of Creston, Steve (wife Dana) BROWN of Elk Horn, IA, Kevin (wife
Andrea) BROWN of Dallas, TX, Dennis (wife June) MILLER of Trenton, IL, Lora MILLER of Dunnegan, MO, Linden (wife
Brenda) MILLER of Prole, IA, David MILLER of Phoenix, AZ; step-grandchildren David (wife Tami) LARIMORE of Ogden,
Doug (wife Mindy) LARIMORE of Ames, Dawn BLACK of Ames; great-grandchildren Jamie BEGGS and Casey (special friend
Ashley TRACY) BEGGS of Creston, Steffenie BROWN, Matthew BROWN, Patrick and Daniel BROWN of Elk Horn, IA, Derek
MILLER (fiancé Alicia) of Trenton, IL, Michael MILLER of Trenton, IL, Rodney MILLER of Norwalk; step-great-grandchildren
Valerie LARIMORE of Rochester, MN, Kadi LARIMORE of Lawler, MN, Erin (husband Eric) STEFFENSEN of
Anita, Robin (husband Clint) JESSEN of Exira, Jake, Taylor, and Joe LARIMORE of Ames, Jesse BLACK and Brooke BLACK;
great-great-grandchildren Samantha and Jayden MILLER of Des Moines; step-great-great-grandchildren Ethan, Eyon, and
Eva STEFFENSEN of Anita. She is also survived by two sisters-in-law Erma MILLER and Jane MILLER of Albuqurque, New Mexico;
many nieces and nephews.
Services were held at 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, February 13, 2008 from First Chrisitan Church (Disciples of Christ)
Creston, Iowa. [Interment was at Oakland Cemetery south of Shannon City, Iowa.]
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, January of 2009
To submit your Ringgold County obituaries, contact Sharon R. Becker at
Please include the word "Ringgold" in the subject line. Thank you.
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