Five score, three years and six months ago, Marion Agnes Chambless was born to Marion Christopher and Rhoda Liner Chambless in Ruston, La. on April 8, 1918. She passed away peacefully 10/20/2021 in Mandeville, Louisiana She is the last survivor of her siblings, Beatrice Lindsay, Grayson, Shelby, Bernice Woods, and Hazel Jones. They had some fun, those siblings. Holidays were filled with cooking, stories, clean jokes and lots of children under foot. The older cousins picked on the younger ones ad nauseum.
She was married but twice, first to William Lee Cofer in 1949 and produced two daughters, Rhenda Cofer Saporito and Claire Friedrichs-Taylor, to whom she never expressed which was her favorite—no matter how hard they tried-over the years, to pry it out of her. In her final days, she still didn’t fall for the trap. August 7, 1965, Agnes married the love of her life, Fred Maher Miller of St. Joseph La. and took on the title of step-Mother to three children, Fred M. Miller Jr., Paula Miller Wilhite and David Miller. The blended family shared many wonderful times and a few harrowing experiences, involving cars, horses, boats and road trips to Dallas. Many secrets were kept by Agnes and Fred, and for that we are forever grateful. She was wise and never judgmental. Her sense of humor was legendary. No one laughed harder at her jokes than she did.
In her 103+ years, Agnes/”Nana”, was an Expeditor on an assembly line at Douglas Aircraft in California during WWII, she received her Bachelor degree from Louisiana Tech University -where a great lifetime bond was formed, then earned a Masters Degree in Home Economics from LSU. Later, she received her PHD from Florida State University in Food Science and Technology -Nutrition. As a single Mother of two girls…things were not always easy. With the help of her siblings, she managed her home life while thriving in her career. She never complained once about her workload while attempting to raise two children. She taught high school in Caddo and Richland Parishes; worked in food service for Standard Oil, taught college at Louisiana Tech where she was the Dean of the College of Home Economics when she retired. Her Tech students were loyal to her until the end, staying in touch by phone, email and on Facebook.
Her accolades were numerous: Research chair of Louisiana Home Economics Association, Outstanding Contributor – La Tech University, first woman to become La Tech Medallion award winner, La Tech Top 100 Grads-75 year anniversary and in 2003 was Tech Alumni of the Year, Privileged Director Emeritus, La Tech Foundation Board. She was a member of too many groups to mention –a few were D.A.R., La History Association, La Genealogy Assn, G R Q Investment Club in Monroe. She loved the stock market and has a record of performance to match any professional.
Dr. Miller represented excellence and perseverance. She broke through barriers that many women of her time could not. She was an exemplary role model for those striving to reach their full potential in life. Her life-long mantra to her family, students and friends was “Always be honest, kind and fair.” Close behind this belief was “The best way to get a job…..is HAVE a job.” She encouraged all she knew to take any job, prove your worthiness and move up the ladder.
She loved politics and was a frequent member of the audience at Tensas Police Jury meetings. She wrote a book called “Dinner is Served !” at age 98 – a guide for young people on etiquette, table manners and basic recipes. She mastered the Internet, in her 90’s was hooked on her iPad and a frequent poster on Facebook. In the past, she was an avid letter-writer to company Presidents……we thank goodness she never discovered Twitter!
She is survived by her children, Rhenda (Jerry )Saporito, Claire Friedrichs (Denny)Taylor, Paula (Ron) Wilhite, David (Annice ) Miller, Fred Miller, Jr.
Grandchildren, Robert Richmond (Jordana Richmond), Miller (Danielle) Richmond, Scott (Megan) Saporito, Chris (Heidi) Saporito, Michael (Kellie) Wilhite, Todd (Erin) Wilhite, Anneke Miller, Ginny (Austin) Hogue, Bill Miller
Great-grandchildren are Chase Wilhite, Avery Wilhite, Evelyn Hogue, Mac Hogue, Jack Richmond, Andrew Saporito, Parker Saporito, James Saporito, Barrett Saporito
Nieces and nephews- Carolyn Cordell Foster, Hardeman Cordell IV, Chris Chambless, Becky Chambless Wattleworth, Chris Jones.
Pall Bearers are Dr. Les Guice, Dr. Dan Reneau, Sam Wallace, Dud Holland, her son’s in law, nephews and grandsons.
How appropriate Agnes is coming home and it’s LA Tech’s Homecoming.
Visitation at Kilpartick’s Funeral Home, Ruston, Louisiana, Sunday October 24, 2021 from 2-3pm. Join us for Graveside Services at Greenwood Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please make gifts in memory of Dr. Miller can be made to the “Dr. Agnes Chambless Miller Endowed Scholarship” at Louisiana Tech University. Checks should be payable to “Louisiana Tech University Foundation” and sent to P. O. Box 1190, Ruston, LA 71273
Online condolences may be extended to the family at www.kilpatrickfuneralhomes.com