Oritha M. Miller (Roberts), who was one of the first Black women in the U.S. Marine Corp, died on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. Miller was 89.
Miller served in the Marine Corp from 1953 to 1956 during the Korean Conflict. She was stationed in Cherry Point, N.C., and Hawaii. Miller often spoke very fondly of her time in the Marine Corp. She rose to the rank of corporal, and only left the Marine Corp when she met her husband, and decided to get married. Miller received a Good Conduct Medal and a National Service Medal from the Marine Corp.
Miller knew education was essential to a good life. Miller received certificates and diplomas from the United States Marine Corps, Portsmouth Business College, the McIntosh College, and Business Machine School. Miller graduated from the Fox School of Business at Temple University with an associates and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in computer science.
Miller worked for the federal government for more than 20 years at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), where she worked in various secretarial and administrative positions. Miller retired from the federal government in the computer systems administration department.
While at DHHS, she met many special friends, and associates. Miller also had an income tax business for more than 40 years and met some valued friends along the way. She continued to work hard after retirement in her income tax business as well as at several senior centers as a computer instructor. She enjoyed working with adults and helping them become computer literate.
Miller was very active in St. Augustine’s Church of the Covenant. She was president of St. Martha’s Guild, president of the choir, chairwoman of the Women’s Day Committee, and church treasurer. She spearheaded and worked with other to raise funds for the church by participating in bake sales, card parties, fish fries, bus trips and concerts. Miller never hesitated to offer a kind word or helping hand to anyone who was in need.
Miller was affectionately known as “Rea” was born Aug. 30, 1932 at home, in Key West, FL, to Maria Pla Roberts, and Orion Roberts.
Miller was a natural born leader. She was tasked with taking care of her five younger sisters while her mother worked. She attended Douglas High School in Key West was a drum majorette for the band, and won a debate contest called “I Speak for Democracy.” Miller was an avid reader as a teenager, and would often get lost in a good novel.
After graduating from Douglas High School, she decided to move to San Antonio, TX to start her adult life and while there, decided to enlist in the United States Marine Corp.
Miller will forever live on in the hearts of her daughter, Cheryl L. Miller and her grandson, Ashton D. Miller. Miller will be cherished and remembered by her sisters, Matilda Simmons, of Jacksonville, FL, and Alvilda Jones of Key West, FL. She will be fondly, and lovingly remembered by her nieces, nephews, extended family, and a host of friends and associates.
There will be a service for Miller on Friday, Nov. 5 at Calvary St. Augustine Episcopal Church, 814 North 41st Street. The service will begin at 11 a.m.