The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022

Betty Jean Miller

Betty Jean Miller passed away peacefully at the Defiance Inpatient Hospice Center on Wednesday, April 14, 2021, due to complications related to a stroke.

Betty Jean Miller

She was born January 30, 1930, in Addison, Michigan, the daughter of Estella Jane Leonard Owens and Howard Mason Owens, who both preceded her in death. She lived most of her life in Van Wert, and on June 15, 1963, married Albert Miller, who survives.

Betty graduated from Van Wert High School in 1948 and proceeded to live an active and adventurous life. She was one of the founding members of Van Wert Civic Theatre in 1959 and was a vital participant until 2016, when she was sidelined by ill health. She attended her last performance on January 30, 2020, on her 90th birthday, and the director acknowledged Betty from the stage and thanked her for her many years of dedication to the theatre.

After working for 30-plus years as a billing clerk at Aeroquip (Eaton), Betty retired in 1982 and fulfilled her dream of starting her own business, Betty’s Medical Massage Therapy/Rejuvenation & Teaching Center.

Betty was a pioneer in alternative methods of healing and traveled to China several times to study acupuncture and Qi gong. She was a recognized authority in the field of medical massage and often lectured at various places around the country.

Betty developed a passion for scuba diving in her late 40s and traveled several times a year to dive in the Caribbean, Tahiti, Venezuela, or Australia. Her last dive was at the age of 85 in Cozumel, Mexico. She loved travel, and one of her favorite trips was to Machu Pichu in Peru with her son, Bob Thomas.

Her survivors include her two children, Virginia (John) Plyler of Raleigh, North Carolina, and Robert Thomas (Katy Munger) of Durham, North Carolina, her grandson, Alex Phillips (Laura Green) of Cary, North Carolina; two stepchildren, Nancy (Miller) Keith of Van Wert and Albert (Jane) Miller Jr. of Sherwood. She is also survived by six stepgrandchildren, 26 stepgreat-grandchildren, eight stepgreat-great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was also preceded in death by four siblings, Dorothy, Opal, Cina, and David, and her stepson, Dan Miller. 

Betty’s greatest gift was her fun-loving and generous spirit, which allowed her to make friends wherever she went. She will be sorely missed by everyone who knew her.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 2, at Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home & Crematory in Van Wert, with Dave Thomas officiating.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Van Wert Civic Theater, c/o Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home, 722 S. Washington St., Van Wert, OH 45891.

Condolences may be expressed at

POSTED: 04/16/21 at 12:34 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries